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Iran Commanders Say Supreme Leader Limiting Ballistic Missile Range

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Two top Iranian military commanders say that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has restricted the range of ballistic missiles manufactured in the country to 2,000 kilometers.

It is the first time that high-ranking Iranian officials have mentioned a range limitation imposed by Khamenei, the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces.

"Today, the range of our missiles, as the policies of Iran's supreme leader dictate, is limited to 2,000 kilometers, even though we are capable of increasing this range," Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said on October 31.

"We believe this range is enough for the Islamic republic as most of the U.S. forces and most of their interests in the region are within this range," Jafari told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran.

Meanwhile, the state-run Fars news agency quoted Iranian armed forces' chief of staff, General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, as saying in the western city of Urmiya that Iran's missiles "have a 2,000-kilometer range, based on a limit prescribed by the commander in chief."

It was not clear from the two statements when Khamenei might have imposed a limit on the missiles' range.

The 2,000-kilometer range of ballistic missiles manufactured in Iran encompasses much of the Middle East, including Israel and U.S. military bases in the region, raising concerns for the United States and its allies.

'Destabilizing Actions'

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week for a new round of sanctions on individuals and entities over Tehran's missile program and other "destabilizing actions."

President Donald Trump has urged U.S. allies to join Washington in taking strong action to curb Iran's "continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior," including sanctions targeting its missile development.

Jafari warned on October 31 that new sanctions against Iran "would only increase the number of Iranian missiles, and their precision."

Iran long has insisted its ballistic missiles are for defensive purposes.

With reporting by Reuters and AP