Iranian ballistic missile
Iranian ballistic missile Reuters

An Iranian official insisted on Saturday that his country’s ballistic missiles are defensive, and not offensive, in nature.

“The missile power of the Islamic Republic is entirely defensive, and is not against any country, and only to respond to possible aggression against the country’s territorial integrity,” the official told the semi-official Fars news agency.

The statement followed Iran’s latest test firing of a Shehab-3 medium-range ballistic missile last week. A US official told Fox News said the missile flew more than 600 miles from the southern part of the country to an area outside the capital, Tehran.

Iran’s ballistic missile tests are a concern for the US and were not covered by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which is one of the reasons that US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal last year.

The Islamic Republic has carried out several ballistic missiles over the past several years. In February, Iran attempted to launch a satellite into space but failed when the satellite failed to reach orbit.

The US says that Iran’s ballistic missile tests are a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

The resolution says Iran is “called upon” to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Iran, however, denies its ballistic missile tests violate this resolution. President Hassan Rouhani has stressed in the past that Iran will continue to produce missiles for its defense and does not consider that a violation of international agreements.