On Tuesday, Iran launched a large number of ballistic missiles from silos all over the country. According to reports, the missiles can cover distances ranging from 190 to 1,242 miles. Reports from a local news agency reported that the missiles were launched as part of a supposed military exercise. An official statement from The Revolutionary Guards, a division of Iran's Armed Forces affiliated with the Islamic Revolution, declared that the missiles were launched to showcase Iran's "deterrent power" and "all-out readiness to confront threats". The United States has reacted unfavorably to the news. Just two months ago, the U.S. had imposed sanctions on Iran in reaction to missile tests run by the country last October, meant to disrupt further activity. Now, additional sanctions against Iran may be on the discussion table.
U.S.Senators are considering extending the Iran Sanctions Act, an act focused on disrupting investment to Iran. While this act was suspended following the Tehran international nuclear agreement, it is not yet set to officially expire till the end of this year. The U.S. still has power to reinstate sanctions in case Iran violates the nuclear agreement. Several government officials think the country should take advantage of this, since it is believed that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it may use them to attack Israel. However, the Guards claim that the current missiles would only be used for Iran's defense.
Current policy action is less drastic. Officials from the U.S. State Department have stated that it will review reports related to the recent missile tests. If the reports appear to be of concern, they say they will raise the issue with the United Nations Security Council. The UN has previously condemned the Iran missile program. Resolution 1929, terminated two months ago, forbid Iran from creating and using ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. A new resolution, Resolution 2231, was then put into effect, which strongly discourages Iran from undertaking any activity with nuclear warheads. It is likely that the UN will find this recent test in direct conflict with their resolution, and may make a statement against Iran concerning the missiles.
It is unknown as of yet whether the UN will be in favor of more sanctions against Iran. However, if they view the weapons as a serious threat, it may not be unlikely. U.S. officials will probably continue to push for further sanctions against Iran within the next few weeks, especially with endorsement from candidate Hillary Clinton. Whether or not this will actually happen is yet to be seen. Previous sanctions have been known to affect Iran's economy, but missile tests still seem to continue. Even if more are put into effect, will sanctions actually halt weapon development in Iran? The U.S. will wait and see with bated breath.