June 22, 2017

Iran Holds Military Exercise in Defiance of US Sanctions

In apparent defiance of the new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Iran held a military exercise Saturday to test missile and radar systems.

The aim of the exercise, held in Semnan province, was to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions,” Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards website said, according to Reuters.

During the exercise, a senior commander of Iran’s Revolution Guard said the country’s missiles will come down on the country’s enemies if they do wrong.

“If the enemy does not walk the line, our missiles come down on them,” Gen. Amir Ali Haijazadeh said.

Iranian state news agencies reported the military excercise would test home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centers and cyber warfare systems.

The drill comes a day after the White House imposed sanctions on Tehran for a recent ballistic missile test.

Those targeted by the Treasury Department sanctions include Iranian, Lebanese, Emirati and Chinese individuals and firms involved in procuring ballistic missile technology for Iran. They are now prohibited from doing any business in the United States or with American citizens.

“The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over,” White House national security adviser Michael Flynn said.

Iran has one of the Middle East’s largest missile programs and held a similar exercise in December.

Iran confirmed Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile on Sunday.

Gen. Hossein Dehghan was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying “the recent missile test is in line with our plans and we will not let any foreigner meddle with our defense issues.” He did not say when the test was carried out or specify the type of missile, but said the test was not in violation of U.N. resolutions or the 2015 nuclear accord.

It was the first ballistic missile test since Trump entered the White House. On Tuesday, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called the test “unacceptable.”

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote, “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me.”

Despite the tough talk, the new sanctions represent a continuation of the Obama administration’s limited punishment for Iran’s ballistic missile activity and avoid a direct showdown with Tehran over the nuclear deal itself.

FoxNews.com/The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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