Last week the Senate voted 98-2 to pass new Iran sanctions targeting 1st, Iran’s ballistic missile program and 2nd, the IRGC [a]. The Treasury Department had already been ramping up some measures against both: in February OFAC issued ballistic missile and IRGC designations, and in May it issued additional ballistic missile designations [b][c].
Yesterday the IRGC fired six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles into Syria. The Iranians unveiled the Zolfaghar in September, with a banner saying Iran could destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa [d]. Iranian officials say the missile can carry multiple warheads and has a range of 700km [e]. That puts CENTCOM’s forward headquarters in Qatar in range.
Today an IRGC general said that yesterday’s launch hit ISIS assets and signaled Iran could target the U.S. and its regional allies. [Omri cites the AP story linked above.] The lede and quote:
Iran’s ballistic missile strike targeting the Islamic State group in Syria served both as revenge for attacks on Tehran earlier this month and a warning that Iran could strike Saudi Arabia and U.S. interests in the Mideast… the missiles sent a message to more than just the extremists in Iraq and Syria, Gen. Ramazan Sharif of the Guard told state television in a telephone interview. “The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message,” he said. “Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran.”
The Iranians say the new Senate sanctions against ballistic missiles violate the 2015 nuclear deal [f]. U.S. critics of new pressure on Iran, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, say the new Senate sanctions could undermine the deal [g][h].