The head of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard says the country’s supreme leader has limited the range of ballistic missiles it makes to 2,000 kilometers, or 1,240 miles, Fox News reports. The comments by General Mohammad Ali Jafari to reporters on Tuesday marked the first acknowledgment that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has imposed limits on the country’s ballistic missile program.
Khamenei said last Wednesday that Iran’s defense might not be up for negotiation, stressing the country’s resolve to strengthen its defense capabilities despite enemy attempts to weaken the nation.
“We have repeatedly announced, and declare once more that the country’s defensive means and power are not up for negotiation and bargaining,” the leader stated.
The remarks come as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers is threatened by President Donald Trump’s refusal to re-certify the accord. The Trump administration has also sanctioned Iran for test-firing of a ballistic missile.
In early August, Donald Trump signed into law one of the most wide-ranging sanctions measures of the last five years, known as CAATSA, which enhances three separate sanctions programs targeting Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
CAATSA expands U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and enhances the legal basis for existing sanctions targeting the IRGC. It would also establish an additional U.S. legal basis for sanctions targeting IRGC on the allegations of support for terrorism.
The range of 2,000 kilometers would encompass much of the Middle East, including Israel and American bases in the region. Iran often says that its ballistic missile program is only for defensive purposes against regional adversaries.
Previously this month, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has suggested that U.S. military forces in the Middle East could be in danger of an Iranian missile attack if Washington imposes new sanctions against Tehran.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying that “if new sanctions go into effect,” the United States should “move its regional bases to a 2,000-kilometer radius” from Iran, adding that 2,000 kilometers is “the range of Iranian missiles.”
The U.S. military currently has bases less than 800 kilometers from Iran’s borders in countries neighboring Iran.