As U.S. senators look to impose further sanctions against Iran, reports have emerged claiming that Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard, an elite branch of the country’s armed forces, launched “sophisticated rockets” during routine military exercises.
The “smart and advanced” rockets were launched during an annual three-day exercise that began in the country’s central desert Monday, the Associated Press (AP) reported Tasnim, an agency close to the elite force, as saying.
While the capabilities or model of the rockets were not reported, the agency said the set targets had been achieved. The move comes less than a month after Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile, causing the United States to put the country “on notice.”
The reported launches also came a day after it was revealed that U.S. senators were planning to introduce legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Iran. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, talked about the plans during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference, according to Reuters.
“I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,” Graham said.
Iran’s alleged violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions may lead to bipartisan support for the introduction of such sanctions. Speaking at the same panel, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said a “proportional response” to the test must be discussed. He added: “I don’t necessarily think there’s going to be partisan division over whether or not we have the ability as a Congress to speak on issues outside of the nuclear agreement.”
As tensions escalate between the two nations, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said pushing Iran with sanctions will not yield any results.
“We don’t respond well to coercion. We don’t respond well to sanctions, but we respond very well to mutual respect. We respond very well to arrangements to reach mutually acceptable scenarios,” Zarif said Sunday, according to AP.