US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program signed in 2015, according to Reuters.
Armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said testing missiles and increasing the military might of Iran are only meant for defense and in line with the country’s deterrence.
“We will continue both the test and development of the missiles,” he said, adding that any negotiation with foreigners on the missile program is out of question since the issue is related to the country’s national security.
“Iran just test-fired an INF range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe. This provocative behavior cannot be tolerated,” tweeted US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt posted on Twitter, “Deeply concerned by Iran’s test firing of a medium-range ballistic missile. Provocative, threatening and inconsistent with UNSCR 2231. Our support for JCPoA in no way lessens our concern at Iran’s destabilizing missile program and determination that it should cease.”
In another context, an Iranian fertility expert accused of working with foreign “espionage networks” has been arrested, state news agency IRNA confirmed on Sunday. It did not give details of the charges but quoted a lawyer who named the expert as Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi.
She is listed by the University of Melbourne as working at its School of Population and Global Health, and had published widely on Iran’s once-lauded fertility and family-planning policies.
On Saturday, Kayhan newspaper reported the arrest of several “activists… who, under the cover of scientific activities, had infiltrated state bodies”. It said they manipulated data and handed sensitive information to Iran’s enemies as part of efforts to carry out a “cultural and social invasion”.
Iran was once considered an international success story in population control, bringing birth rates down from seven per woman in the 1980s to 1.66 in 2016, according to World Bank figures. Chavoshi has written extensively about these efforts, which she described as the “fastest fall in fertility ever recorded.”