October 31, 2017 / 4:12 PM / 2 months ago

Iran says no need to increase missile range as can already hit U.S. forces

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran has no need to increase the range of its ballistic missiles as they could already reach U.S. forces stationed in the region, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday.

As U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to impose new sanctions against Iran’s missile program, Major-General Mohammad Ali Jafari said “sanctions would only increase number of Iranian missiles, and their precision”.

Trump this month refused to certify Tehran’s compliance with a deal struck with world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions.

The House of Representatives voted last week for new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and Trump has urged U.S. allies to join Washington in taking strong action to curb “Iran’s continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior”, including sanctions targeting its missile development.

“Our missiles’ range is 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), and that can be increased, but we believe this range is enough for the Islamic Republic as most of the U.S. forces and most of their interests in the region are within this range,” Jafari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“Americans are trying to impose new sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards for its missile program, but that is an excuse to harm Iran’s economy,” Jafari said.

Iran has one of the Middle East’s largest missile programs and some of its precision-guided missiles have the range to strike Israel.

The United States says Iran’s missile program is a breach of international law because the missiles could carry nuclear warheads in the future.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is for civilian uses only.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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