Concern is growing as Iran appears to be increasing its nuclear arsenal. France said it was worried and concerned as Tehran “is engaged in an extremely worrying nuclear escalation,” the spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry lamented on Thursday. Anne-Claire Legendre also noted “the serious and increased risks of proliferation without any credible civil justification” during a press briefing. “France condemns this new violation of resolution 2231 adopted in 2015 by the United Nations Security Council,” she said.
The Iranian Ministry of Defense presented a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers. The Kheibar, the latest version of the Khorramshahr which is Iran’s longest-range missile so far, was unveiled during a live broadcast on public television. It was presented right next to a replica of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the Palestinian sector of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Its name refers to the ancient city of Khaybar, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, known for a decisive 7th-century battle in which the army of the Prophet Muhammad defeated its thousands of Jewish inhabitants. According to Iranian state media, the speed of the high-mobility tactical missile “can reach Mach 16 outside the atmosphere and Mach 8 inside the atmosphere”, which is 16 and 8 times the speed of sound.
This presentation comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and just over ten days after a ceasefire in Gaza that ended five days of conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad, radical Islamist movement armed by Iran.