Iran’s ballistic missile test lands country in path of conflict with Trump administration

Published: Thursday 2nd February, 2017


WASHINGTON, U.S. – U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn said the U.S. is “officially putting Iran on notice,” following its ballistic missile test earlier.

However, the White House did not clarify the statement and state exactly what retaliatory action the U.S. intended to pursue.

“There are a large number of options available to the administration. We are going to take appropriate action and I will not provide any further information today relative to that question,” a senior administration official told reporters.

“The important thing here is we are communicating that Iranian behavior needs to be rethought by Tehran.”

The official refused to answer questions about whether the Trump administration had communicated Flynn’s message to Iran directly, or whether the administration is weighing military action, saying only that the White House is in a “deliberative process.”

Earlier in the day, in a combative mood, Flynn said, “Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements (nuclear deal), Iran is now feeling emboldened.”

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he told reporters in his first appearance in the White House press briefing room, also calling the Iran nuclear deal “weak and ineffective.”

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms.”

Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”

Officials, meanwhile, declined to say whether the military option was a possibility, although Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said, “The U.S. military has not changed its posture in response to the Iranian test missile launch” on Sunday.

Experts called Flynn’s warning “vague.”

“It’s a vague way of drawing a line in the sand,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Americas. “Taken literally, it could mean: ‘You do this one more time and you’ll pay for it.’ But how would the U.S. respond?”

Iran on Sunday conducted its first missile test since the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

A U.S. defense official had confirmed that the Khorramshahr medium-range missile was launched on Sunday but ended in failure and that the missile exploded after 630 miles, posing no threat to the U.S. or its allies in the region.

In September last year, Iranian defense minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqan had said that the country was to begin production of the specified missile.

Officials said that the test launch was carried out from a site near Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran and that Iran had launched such a missile in July last year.

Both the U.S. and European government condemned the missile test, claiming that it was a breach of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The United Nations Security Council also held urgent talks following the ballistic missile test.

According to the 2015 Security Council resolution, Iran is prohibited from any activities related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads.

Iran, however, argued that the tests are legitimate because they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

In March last year, Iran sparked international condemnation after it test-fired two ballistic missiles.

One of the missiles was emblazoned with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew.