Iran Challenges Trump’s Administration with New Ballistic Test

The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade. AFP
The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade. AFP
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Iran Challenges Trump’s Administration with New Ballistic Test

The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade. AFP
The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade. AFP

Iran announced on Saturday it had successfully tested a new medium-range ballistic missile in a new challenge to US President Donald Trump’s administration that hinted at the possibility of withdrawing from the Nuclear Deal.

Iran said the Khorramshahr ballistic missile can travel up to a range of 2,000 km and carries several warheads.

The state television carried footage of the launch and showed images of the missile without specifying the exact date when the photos were taken.

However, at a military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, an Iranian official said on Friday that the Khorramshahr would be capable to operate in a short time.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Saturday foreign pressures would not affect Iran’s missile program.

“On the path to improve our country’s defensive capacity we will certainly not be the least affected by any threats and we won’t ask anyone’s permission,” he said in remarks carried by state television.

The Nuclear Deal between Tehran and major powers does not ban Iran’s ballistic activities. However, UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.

Iranian officials say all of the country’s missiles are designed to carry only conventional and not nuclear warheads and that Tehran does not have a program to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country refuses any restrictions on its ballistic program.

“Whether you like it or not, we are going to strengthen our military capabilities which are necessary for deterrence,” Rouhani said on Friday.

Trump is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether Iran is still complying with the Nuclear Deal.

The US president said last Wednesday that he already made his decision in this regard but was still not ready to reveal it.

Both the European Union and Russia asked the US president not to withdraw from the deal with Tehran.

The calls did not stop French President Emmanuel Macron to assert that the deal was not sufficient anymore, adding that Iran should halt its destabilizing ballistic activities in the region, especially in Syria.



Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
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Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT

The Turkish president on Saturday put a damper on hopes for a quick resumption of talks to heal a half-century of ethnic division on Cyprus, reaffirming his support for a two-state deal that Greek Cypriots dismiss as a non-starter.

Speaking ahead of a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a peace deal based on a United Nations-endorsed plan for federation.

Although Erdogan has previously rejected the federation plan, Greece and the Greek Cypriots had hoped he would soften his position.

The anniversary is a festive occasion for Turkish Cypriots in the island's northern third, who view the invasion as salvation from the Greek-speaking majority's domination. The invasion followed a coup that aimed at a union with Greece, which was backed by the Junta then ruling in Athens, according to The AP.

In the south, the howl of air raid sirens at daybreak began a solemn day marking what Greek Cypriots remember as a catastrophe that left thousands of people dead or missing and displaced a quarter of the Greek Cypriot population.

Erdogan’s remarks may further complicate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ effort to get both sides back to the negotiating table. His personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has spent the past six months scoping both sides out.

“We will continue to fight with determination for the recognition of the TRNC (breakaway Turkish Cypriot state) and the implementation of a two-state solution," Erdogan told throngs of Turkish Cypriots lining the parade route in scorching heat in the northern half of the divided capital, Nicosia.

“A federal solution in Cyprus is not possible, this is what we believe. ... The Turkish Cypriot side, as equals with the Greek side, are willing to negotiate and are ready to sit down and negotiate. If you want a solution, you need to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots."

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots reject “domination” by the Greek Cypriot majority and seek “equal national status” for their breakaway state they unilaterally declared in 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey. He added that there's now “no common ground” for a return to peace negotiations.

Referring to a recent resolution in the Ankara parliament calling for a two-state solution, Tatar said it “will help us and our cause incredibly.”

The island's Greek Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides urged Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots to re-engage in reunification talks if Ankara genuinely seeks regional security and stability and to nudge closer to the European Union.

After numerous failed rounds of peace negotiations, many Cypriots on both sides — although jaded — still hold out a glimmer of hope for a peace deal.