Iran test-fires new round of ballistic missiles

Iran test-fires new round of ballistic missiles
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Iran on Wednesday test-fired two ballistic missiles with "Israel must be wiped off the Earth" written on them, according to the nation's semi-official news agency. 

The new tests come just a day after Iran said it conducted a new round of missile tests, despite a United Nations resolution calling upon the Middle Eastern nation not to do so. 

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The firings occurred during a large-scale military drill, according to CNN. They were Iran's first such tests since the global nuclear deal took effect earlier this year. The last round came in October and November.

The tests prompted a wave of criticism by lawmakers in Washington, with both Republicans and Democrats calling for tougher measures on Iran.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerConway: Trump expanding secretary of State field 'Apolitical' Petraeus says he did not vote in election Priebus says State announcement coming in next 2 weeks MORE (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday that both the United States and the United Nations must show that the reported tests will have "swift and immediate consequences."

"It’s clear our enemies no longer fear the United States" and that Iran is "throwing dirt in the face of the entire free world," added Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP lawmakers praise Trump for Taiwan call Cotton says he trusts Trump on promise to focus on presidency Katie Pavlich: A tyrant, not a hero, is dead MORE (R-Ark.). 

Republican Sens. Mark KirkMark KirkBattle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate Women make little gains in new Congress MORE (Ill.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBattle brews over Trump’s foreign policy Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates NH voters hold Ayotte accountable for gun control votes MORE (N.H.), who are both facing tough re-election battles in November, said that the reported tests show how badly new sanctions against Iran are needed. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben CardinBen CardinAide: Trump invited Philippine leader to WH Dem senator: Hold hearing on Russian interference in election Overnight Finance: Questions swirl around Trump's plan for his business | Treasury pick promises major tax cut | White House downplays Carrier deal MORE (D-Md.) said that "the Administration should act swiftly to raise these concerns at the United Nations and take action to hold all parties involved responsible for their actions, including, if necessary, through unilateral action." 

The top U.S. military commander overseeing the Middle East also said Tuesday that despite the nuclear deal, Iran shows no signs of altering its destabilizing behavior. 

"There are a number of things that lead me to personally believe that, you know, their behavior is not — they haven't changed any course yet," said Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, at a Senate hearing. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden, who is in Jerusalem, assured Israel on Wednesday that if Iran broke the terms of the nuclear deal, "We will act."

"We are united in the belief that a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, the region and the United States," he said after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

"All their conventional activity outside the deal, which is still beyond the deal, we will and are attempting to act wherever we can find it," Biden added. 

Iran's state-run Press TV reported that in the latest tests, two Qadr missiles were fired from the Alborz Mountains in northern Iran and hit targets 870 miles away in the southeastern part of the country, CNN reported.