The Trump administration has already strongly condemned Iran for testing a ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. resolutions last weekend but, according to Germany’s Die Welt, it also tested one of its new Soumar nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
Reuters describes the German report as based on “unspecified intelligence sources” and notes it has not been officially confirmed by the German intelligence service yet. The Iranians have thus far admitted to only the ballistic missile launch on Sunday.
The Soumar cruise missile, whose existence Iran first announced in 2015, represents both a potentially more dangerous weapon for delivering nuclear payloads and a loophole in U.N. resolutions for Iran to exploit. The relevant resolutions prohibit (or, as Iran and its defenders would have it, “discourage”) ballistic missile research, but not low-altitude cruise missiles. The Soumar missile may be able to hit targets up to 1800 miles away and would be more difficult to intercept than an ICBM.
“The rocket is reportedly a re-engineered Russian KH-55 cruise missile, which is capable of reaching Israel from Iran, and has the advantage that it can be launched from ships, aircraft and submarines,” writes the Times of Israel.
The TOI notes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already condemned the ballistic missile launch as a “flagrant breach” of U.N. Security Council resolutions and demanded the return of sanctions, in what may be a prelude to the demise of former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal.