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Iran slams 'novice' Trump threats over ballistic missile test

Iranian adviser says US president's threat to put Iran 'on notice' is useless and 'not the first time an inexperienced person has threatened Iran'
A Shahab 3 missile points towards a picture of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (AFP)

A top adviser to Iran's supreme leader on Thursday said Iran  would not yield to "useless" threats by the "inexperienced" US president Donald Trump after a recent ballistic missile test that was aimed at limiting its defence capabilities.

"This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran... the American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless," Ali Akbar Velayati said.

"Iran does not need permission from any country to defend itself," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Separately, the foreign ministry said: "Instead of thanking Iran for its continued fight against terrorism, the American government is practically helping the terrorists by claims about Iran that are baseless, repetitive and provocative.

The comments came after Trump and his senior security aide, Michael Flynn, said the US had put Iran "on notice" for its test of a ballistic missile last week.

The US and other nations have said the test contravened a UN resolution which prohibits tests of weapons capable of delivering nuclear warheads. Iran denied it had broken the resolution.

Trump has also criticised as wak the Obama administration's deal with Iran to lift others sanctions in return for the scaling down of Tehran's nuclear programme. 

Trump said in a tweet on Thursday that "Iran has been put formally put on notice" for firing a ballistic missile... Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the US made with them!"

A second tweet read: "Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the US came along and gave it a lifeline in the form of the Iran deal: $150bn."

The simmering tensions comes as a coalition of British, US and French naval vessels hold war games in the Gulf.

As reported by Middle East Eye, the Royal-Navy led exercise, called Unified Trident, will specifically game an attack by Iranian forces. 

The Royal Navy said Unified Trident was "a routine exercise that has been planned for a considerable time". 

Testing times

A US official said Iran had test-launched the medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday and it exploded after travelling 1,010km. 

It was one of a series of tests by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) since 2016 which have caused international concern, with some powers saying any launch of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate UN Security Council resolution 2231.

Iran's defence minister, Hossein Dehghan, told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Thursday: "The missile test on Sunday was successful ... the test was not a violation of a nuclear deal with world powers or any UN resolution."

German newspaper Die Welt, citing unspecified intelligence sources, reported on Thursday that Iran had recently tested another system, a cruise missile called "Sumar", that was capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Tasnim news agency two years ago published pictures of the Sumar missile, reporting that it was successfully test-fired.

While Iran says its missile programme is aimed at displaying the country's "deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat", some IRGC commanders have said that Iran's medium-range ballistic missiles were designed to be able to hit Israel.