Iran warns it would increase missile range if threatened by Europe

The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade on September 22,2017 in Tehran. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2017
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Iran warns it would increase missile range if threatened by Europe

LONDON: The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned Europe that if it threatens Tehran, the Guards will increase the range of missiles to above 2,000 km, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.
France has called for an “uncompromising” dialogue with Iran about its ballistic missile program and a possible negotiation over the issue separate from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is defensive and not negotiable.
“If we have kept the range of our missiles to 2,000 km, it’s not due to lack of technology. ... We are following a strategic doctrine,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said, according to Fars.
“So far we have felt that Europe is not a threat, so we did not increase the range of our missiles. But if Europe wants to turn into a threat, we will increase the range of our missiles,” he added.
The US accused Iran this month of supplying Yemen’s Houthi militias with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the UN to hold Tehran accountable for violating two UN Security Council resolutions.
Salami claimed that the Houthis managed to increase the range and precision of their missiles in a “scientific breakthrough.”
Salami said that Iran’s support for the Houthis was “political and spiritual.”
The US has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution that calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The US says Iran’s missile program is a breach of international law because the missiles could carry nuclear warheads in the future.


Iran arrests labor protest leader

Updated 20 min 59 sec ago
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Iran arrests labor protest leader

  • Esmail Bakhshi organized protests to object alleged criminal activities of the new owners of the sugar factory
  • Iranian state TV claims that Bakhshi and another activist have connections with European activists

TEHRAN: An Iranian labor protest leader has been arrested for the second time, state media reported Monday, after the judiciary denied his claim that he was tortured in custody late last year.
Esmail Bakhshi “was arrested last night in cooperation with security and law enforcement forces,” Mansour Mohammadi, the prosecutor general of Dezful, in Khuzestan province, told the judiciary’s news website Mizan Online.
Bakhshi was one of the organizers of weeks of protests at the Haft Tapeh sugar factory in the city of Shush in November and December, over unpaid wages and alleged criminal activity by new private owners.
State TV on Saturday broadcast a program claiming that Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, another activist who supported the Haft Tapeh strikers, had connections with Europe-based activists who “aim to topple the state.”
The program featured footage of Bakhshi and Gholian sitting behind desks in front of red and blue curtains, detailing their connections and activities with the activists, allegedly based in several European countries.
The footage was undated and taken in an unknown location.
Both Bakhshi and Gholian were detained last year during the protests.
Gholian was also arrested Sunday, according to Mizan Online.
The semi-official Fars news agency, close to conservatives, said Bakshi had attempted to flee the country to continue the “torture allegation project” abroad.
After his release from his first detention, Bakhshi claimed on his Instagram account, that he had been tortured during his 25-day detention by agents of the intelligence ministry.
In the post in early January, he also said the ministry had been eavesdropping on him and his family.
His Instagram account was later deleted.
The torture claim sparked a controversy in Iran, where officials from members of parliament to high-ranking judicial figures promising a full investigation.
Enquiries by parliament, the judiciary and the intelligence ministry found that Bakhshi had not been tortured.
Iran saw multiple strikes and protests last year over working conditions in key sectors including steel, education, mining and transport.
The Haft Tapeh protests ended in late December, with the workers being paid and the factory re-opening.
In November, the head of Iran’s judiciary warned restive workers against creating “disorder.”
Mizan Online quoted Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani as saying: “workers should not allow their demands to become an excuse and an instrument for the enemy.”