Officials of the NCRI reported that Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, ordered the acceleration of missile expansion from relevant institutions after the nuclear agreement went into effect last year, in January.
Iranian ballistic missile testing has caused an ongoing dispute among those who are attempting to keep the nuclear deal enforced. These tests are alleged to be in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that call on the Islamic Republic to avoid work on weapons that are nuclear capable. However, several tests of such missiles have taken place since negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 concluded in July 2015.
According to the NCRI, statements that seem to underscore the defiant policies, attributed to Khamenei, accompany these tests.
Although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is described as a ‘moderate’ by Western media, he has stated that the ballistic missile program will continue to grow because “the Iranian nation has decided to be powerful.”
At the press conference, the NCRI stated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force has been given the task of executing Khamenei’s mandate for accelerated missile work. Members of the IRGC have gone so far as to paint the words “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew on two of the pre-test missiles.
Intelligence gathered from sources inside of Iran by the NCRI’s main constituent group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), has identified 42 centers for the development, manufacture, and testing of missiles by the IRGC. It also found that one of these centers, located in Semnan Province, was actively collaborating with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (Persian abbreviation: SPND), previously identified as the institution in charge of nuclear weapons-related work in the Islamic Republic.
The existence of SPND was revealed by the NCRI in 2011, three years before the United States placed the institution on its sanctions list. SPND’s involvement in ongoing weapons development casts doubt in regards to Tehran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement.
These new revelations from the NCRI come while the US Congress and President Donald Trump are reviewing policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Trump administration’s response to a ballistic missile test that occurred early in Trump’s presidency, was to issue a statement putting Tehran “on notice”.. Following that occurrence, the White House imposed new sanctions on entities with alleged ties to the Iranian ballistic missile program. The American legislature has done so as well, and has moved to extend terrorism-related sanctions to the entirety of the IRGC.
In a move that met with praise from the NCRI and other opponents of the Iranian regime, President Trump ordered the State Department to review the possibility of designating the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. During Tuesday’s press conference, NCRI officials also called for the expulsion of IRGC forces and proxies from Syria and Iraq, and stressed the value of unrelenting sanctions.