According to information published by the French Ministry of Armed Forces on April 28, 2021, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) carried out a flight test of the M51 strategic ballistic missile, which can carry six to 10 independently-targetable TN 75 thermonuclear warheads.
It added that the test proceeded in accordance with the schedule and was performed, as usual, without any nuclear warhead. The missile was followed during all its flight.
Online flight tracking software also showed a US Air Force RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft, which is specifically configured to gather intelligence about ballistic missile tests, flying near where the weapon’s inert payload was expected to impact the Atlantic Ocean north of Bermuda.
In a post on his Twitter account later on Wednesday, the Iranian foreign minister reacted to the news and wrote, “What’s good for the goose is apparently NOT good for the gander.”
Echoing the US and Israel, France has previously accused Iran of pursuing ballistic missile-related activities designed to carry nuclear weapons and said Tehran should immediately cease all such moves.
Tehran has repeatedly dismissed the baseless claim, saying Iran is only exercising its right as a sovereign country to pursue a conventional military program that serves defense purposes.