Iran displays missiles amid nuclear talks with world powers

AP , Friday 7 Jan 2022

Iran put three ballistic missiles on display at an outdoor prayer esplanade in central Tehran on Friday, as talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers flounder.

A cleric walks past Zolfaghar, top, and Dezful missiles
A cleric walks past Zolfaghar, top, and Dezful missiles displayed in a missile capabilities exhibition by the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard a day prior to second anniversary of Iran s missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, at Imam Khomeini grand mosque, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. AP

The missiles, known as Dezful, Qiam and Zolfaghar and with official ranges of up to 1000-km (620 miles), were already-known models, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said.

Diplomats from countries that remain in the 2015 nuclear deal, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, are working with Tehran to revive the accord, which had sought to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for trade.

American diplomats are present in Vienna but they are not in direct talks with Iranians. The accord collapsed in 2018 when then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

A report by state TV said the missiles on display were the same types as those used to strike U.S. bases in Iraq.

The display came on the second anniversary of ballistic missile attacks on American bases in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020.

The Iranian military mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 with two surface-to-air missiles after the attacks, killing all 176 people on board. After days of denial, the Guard publicly apologized, blaming air defense operator who authorities said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.

An Iranian military court in November held a hearing for 10 people suspected of having role in downing the Ukrainian airliner.

State TV said a commemoration ceremony for the victims was held in Tehran's main cemetery with the presence of their families as well as officials.

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