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Iran conducts first ballistic missile test of 2018: report

Iranians gather next to a replica of a Ghadr medium-range ballistic missile during a demonstration outside the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4, 2017
ATTA KENARE (AFP)
Report comes as Trump brought back the punishing sanctions against the embattled Islamic Republic

Iran's military last week conducted its first ballistic missile test of 2018, a move perceived as a show of defiance toward the Trump administration, Fox News cited unnamed US officials on Friday.

It is understood the launch occurred alongside a public military demonstration by Iran's forces but has not been officially acknowledged. It was picked up by US spy satellites.

If confirmed, this represents the first such launch by Iran's since March 2017 and comes as US President Donald Trump brought back the punishing sanctions after unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 deal between Tehran and Western powers to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran's ballistic missile program has poisoned relations between Tehran and Western powers for years.

Since 2006, the UN Security Council has adopted several coercive resolutions aimed at preventing any bid by Iran to develop a missile program that could deliver nuclear weapons, although this goal has always been denied by Tehran.

The sanctions were suspended in July 2015 when the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2231 to endorse the hard-won nuclear deal struck days earlier between Iran and six world powers, which is now in grave danger of unraveling after the US exit.

Washington has also launched concerted propaganda efforts in Iran, including social media campaigns, designed to exacerbate popular discontent, as Iran's currency has plunged almost 50 percent in value in the past six months against the US dollar.

Earlier this year, Israel’s ambassador to the UN sent a letter to the Security Council accusing Iran of testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads on January 2.

Ambassador Danny Danon said that a variation of the Shahab-3 medium-range missile had been tasted in had taken place in southeast Iran, and that the Islamic Republic thus violated a UN Security Resolution 2231.

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