An "informed military source" in Iran has said missile tests are "normal measures to fulfill the country's defense needs," local news outlets report.
In comments on Saturday, July 27, the source at the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces referred to Iran's missile tests within the limits of defense needs as ordinary measures that are carried out when necessary.
A day earlier, CNN had reported, "Iran test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile late Wednesday that traveled 1,000 kilometers from its southern launch point into northern Iran, according to a US official with direct knowledge of the event."
CNN also quoted the official as saying the launch of the Shahab-3 missile did not pose a threat to shipping or US bases and remained inside Iran for the duration of its flight.
Furthermore, the New York Times had also cited an "informed source" as saying on July 25, "The missile was launched from the southern coast of Iran and landed east of Tehran. It flew about 1,100 kilometers, (approximately 680 miles), and stayed inside Iran for the entire flight.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence analyses, said that American officials had been closely monitoring the test site as Iran prepared the missile for launch.
Despite the Pentagon's effort to minimize the strategic importance of the launch on Wednesday, it appears to be a political statement by Iran, acting both as a carefully calibrated effort at escalation — and as a message to Europe, NYT reported.
Responding to the news, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-run Fars News Agency cited an "unidentified Iranian military source" as saying that Iran's missile power is absolutely defensive, not against any country, and is exclusively aimed at responding to possible acts of aggression against the country's territorial integrity.
"Iran does not need to receive permission from any power in the world for defending itself, and considers the defense as an inherent responsibility of the establishment and the Armed Forces of Iran," the informed source added.
The missile was tested at a time that tensions between Iran and the US in the Arabian Gulf are running high.
Iran's missile program is one of the main reasons behind Washington's decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
UN Resolution 2231 issued immediately after the nuclear agreement called on Tehran to avoid any activities related to testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
European parties to the JCPOA have also urged Iran to limit its missile program.
Nevertheless, Iran has repeatedly insisted that its missile program is exclusively for defense purposes.