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Iranian official confirms missile test condemned by US

Revolutionary Guards commander confirms recent test which prompted closed meeting of UN Security Council
An Iranian Army handout showing a Sayad missile fired during an air defence drill on 5 November, 2018 (AFP)

Iran confirmed on Tuesday that it carried out a recent medium-range ballistic missile test in what the US and other Western countries have said could be a violation of a United Nations resolution.

"We are continuing our missile tests and this recent one was a significant test," Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, a Revolutionary Guards aerospace commander, told the Fars news agency.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that Iran had carried out a missile test on 1 December.

Pompeo said in a statement that the missile "has a range that allows it to strike parts of Europe and anywhere in the Middle East".

Pompeo also said the test was a violation of UN resolution 2231 which bans Iran from undertaking "any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology".

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also said he was "deeply concerned" by reports of the test, while French President Emmanuel Macron described the test as "provocative and destabilising”.

Iran denies that missile tests violate the UN resolution and says they are necessary to build up its defences.

Responding to Pompeo's comments, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said: "Iran’s missile programme has a defensive nature and no UN security council resolution has banned Iran’s missile programme or missile tests.”

Washington has been stepping up pressure on Iran since US President Donald Trump withdrew from an internationally backed deal in which Tehran abandoned its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The US, which is backed in its stance on Iran by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is also putting pressure on its European allies to withdraw from the deal.

Speaking after the test, Washington's Iran special envoy Brian Hook said: "We would like to see the European Union move sanctions that target Iran's missile programme."

Last week, France and the UK requested a closed-door session of the UN Security Council to discuss the test.