Iran’s supreme leader has restricted the range of ballistic missiles manufactured in the country to 1,240 miles, the head of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has said.

The decision limits the reach of the weapons to only regional Middle Eastern targets.

The range encompasses much of the Middle East, including Israel and American military bases in the region.

 

The comments on Tuesday by General Mohammad Ali Jafari to reporters mark the first acknowledgement that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has imposed limits on the country’s ballistic missile programme.

It also appears to be an effort by Iranian authorities to contrast its programme, which they often describe as for defensive purposes, against those of countries like North Korea, which now uses its arsenal to threaten the United States.

That has caused concern for the US and its allies, even as Iran’s ballistic missile programme was not included as part of the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran, Gen Jafari told journalists that the capability of Iran’s ballistic missiles is “enough for now”.

The Guard runs Iran’s missile programme, answering only to Khamenei.

“Today, the range of our missiles, as the policies of the Iran’s supreme leader dictate, are limited to 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles), even though we are capable of increasing this range,” he said.

“Americans, their forces and their interests are situated within a 2,000-kilometre radius around us and we are able to respond to any possible desperate attack by them.”

However, Gen Jafari said he did not believe there would be any war between Iran and the US.

“They know that if they begin a war between Iran and the United States, they will definitely be the main losers and their victory will by no means be guaranteed,” he said.

“Therefore, they won’t start a war.”

While keeping with the anti-American tone common in his speeches, Gen Jafari’s comments seemed to be timed to calm tension over Iran’s missile programme.