Despite recent talks between the United States and Iran over the country's nuclear program, Iranian officials unveiled a brand new missile to the public in a ceremony on Sunday.
According to reports, the brand new surface-to-surface missile, made in Iran and named Soumar, was debuted in a ceremony on Sunday, despite negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister just days prior. Once Iranian news sources started reporting about the new missile, some on social media questioned the timing of the announcement following the recent talks.
"Why is #Iran unveiling its long-range cruise missile on the eve of signing a nuclear deal?" Twitter user Anshel Pfeffer asked.
During the unveiling ceremony on Sunday, Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan reportedly said that the Soumar missile, "enjoys different characteristics in terms of range and pinpoint accuracy in comparison with the previous products." The leader went on to say that while this missile is an "effective step in boosting our deterrent power," a more advanced missile with increased destructive power, range and precision is set to be released soon.
Following the recent discussions about Iran's nuclear program, John Kerry said that the U.S. and France were "on the same page" and made clear that on Iran's part, there are "gaps that have to be closed.
"If we didn't think that there was further to go, as (French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius) said, we'd have had an agreement already," Kerry said, according to The Week. "There are things that have to be done to further strengthen this. We know this."
The goal of talks with Iran is to limit the power of its nuclear program, and in exchange, sanctions against the country will be dropped. The Week reports that Iran is asking for sanctions to be dropped immediately, but the U.S., France, Britain, China, Germany, and Russia all want the sanctions to be slowly phased out.
The animosity between Iran and Israel is undeniable, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his country's position that Iran's missile program has to be a part of negotiations during a speech to the U.S. Congress last week.
"And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States," Netanyahu said, according to The Blaze. "[T]his deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb."
So far, it doesn't appear that any U.S. leaders or leaders of the other nations in negotiations with Iran have acknowledged the new Soumar missile that was unveiled Sunday.