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Iran Broadcasts Footage of Underground Ballistic Missile Facility for the First Time

The display follows the launching of a precision-guided missile that Iran said it carried on Sunday — an act that US officials said appears to violate a ban on Iran conducting such tests.
Photo via Fars

An Iranian news outlet broadcast images on Wednesday of an underground missile facility that is said to be one of many that are spread throughout the country, with Iran acknowledging and publicizing their existence for the first time.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force unveiled the facility, according to Fars News Agency, which reported that such bunkers are buried as deep as 500 meters below the country's mountains. Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the division's chief, described the missiles on display as the latest innovations in Iranian ballsistic missile technology, and suggested that they represented Iran's military options in the face of perceived threats from Western countries.

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"Those who pin hope on options on the table, should only have a look at the Islamic republic's army options under the table," Hajizadeh remarked, in apparent reference to American officials repeatedly saying that a military strike against Iran remains "on the table" as a last resort. "If enemies make a mistake, missile bases will erupt like a volcano from the depth of earth," the general added.

Photos of the facility show soldiers lined up along a row of vehicles carrying ballistic missiles as men appearing to be high-ranking officers walk by. In one image, a banner with a photo of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is draped on the side of a missile carrier flanked by guards.

A video posted by on the Fars website shows rows of guards standing at attention during a presentation. The footage offers a look at the missiles and other equipment in the underground tunnel from various angles.

The display follows the launching of a precision-guided ballistic missile that Iran said it carried out on Sunday — an act that United States officials said appears to violate United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, which bans Iran from testing such weapons. This resolution is in effect until the implementation of the nuclear deal that was struck in July between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, UK, Russia, China, and France — plus Germany.

"We're just getting the specifics," US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power remarked of the test at an event in Washington, DC. "But all the indicators are that it would be a violation."

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Obama administration representatives said that they are in the process of addressing concerns over the test, but emphasized to reporters that the matter is unrelated to the deal over Iran's nuclear program. That pact, they said, will not be affected by the launch.

"We'll obviously raise this at the [UN Security Council] as we have done in previous launches," State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said.

Iran's parliament threw its support behind the nuclear agreement in a key vote on Tuesday. It's a clear victory for the government of President Hassan Rouhani, which has championed the deal in the face of domestic criticism from conservative hardliners. The vote cleared away one of the last hurdles for implementation of the deal, which mandates that Iran start rolling back its nuclear capabilities beginning October 18.

The ban on Iranian ballistic missile tests will be lifted when the deal is finally implemented, but a Security Council resolution tied to the deal calls upon Iran to avoid doing work on ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads for a period up to eight years. The council can approve the transfer from foreign countries of missile-related technology to Iran on an individual basis, though it has been suggested that the US would use its veto to block any such transfers.

"One of the really important features in implementation of the recent Iran deal to dismantle Iran's nuclear program is going to have to be enforcement of the resolutions and the standards that remain on the books," Power said. "I think we have to walk and chew gum at the same time."

Meanwhile, Iran's advanced missiles are ready to be launched from across the country should Ayatollah Khamenei order their deployment, General Hajizadeh said.

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Photos via Fars