On May 25, 2023, the Iranian state media said that the nation tested a 2000km long-range ballistic missile “Kheibar”, two days after the chief of Israeli Armed Forces (Herzi Halevi) raised the prospect of “action” against Tehran for its nuclear programme.
As per the state news agency IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency), the missile was named “Kheibar”, a reference to a Jewish castle that was overrun by Muslim Warriors in the early days of Islam.
“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to friends is that we want to help regional stability,” said Iranian Defence Minister Mohammed Reza Ashtiani.
The State TV broadcast what it said was footage of an upgraded version of Iran’s Khoramshahr-IV ballistic missile which has a range of 2000 km and can carry a warhead weighing 1500 kg.
Despite opposition and sanctions from the US and European countries, Tehran has said that it would further develop its “defensive” missile programme.
Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognize, sees Iran as an existential threat. Iran says that its ballistic missiles are an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the US and Israel along with other potential regional adversaries.
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programmes in West Asia, says its weapons are capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the region.
On May 23, 2023, a top Israeli general raised the prospect of action against Iran’s efforts by the six world powers to revive the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) also called the Iranian Nuclear Deal of 2015 have stalled since last September amid the growing fears about Iran’s accelerating nuclear advances.
The nuclear agreement which was ditched by The US in 2018 imposed restrictions on Iran ‘s nuclear activities that extended the time Tehran would need to produce enough for a nuclear bomb if it chose to. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.