22 October 2016
A ballistic missile is launched in an undisclosed location in Iran on March 9. Photo: Reuters
A ballistic missile is launched in an undisclosed location in Iran on March 9. Photo: Reuters

US accuses Iran of defying UN resolutions with missile tests

By launching nuclear-capable missiles Iran has defied a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed last year’s historic nuclear deal, the United States and its European allies said in a joint letter to the United Nations.

Iran’s recent ballistic tests involved missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” council resolution 2231, adopted last July, said the joint US, British, French and German letter to Spain’s UN Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Reuters reported.

The letter, which was seen by the news agency on Tuesday, said the missiles used in the recent launches were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.

It also asked that the Security Council discuss “appropriate responses” to Tehran’s failure to comply with its obligations and urged Ban to report back on Iranian missile work inconsistent with 2231.

Spain has been assigned the task of coordinating council discussions on resolution 2231.

Council diplomats have said the case for new UN sanctions was weak, hinging on interpretation of ambiguous language in a resolution adopted as part of a July nuclear deal to drastically restrict Iran’s nuclear work.

Western officials say that although the launches went against 2231, they were not a violation of the core nuclear agreement between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Russia, a permanent veto-wielding council member, has made clear it does not support new UN sanctions on Iran.

Both Russia and China had lobbied against continuing restrictions on Iran’s missile program during last year’s negotiations on the nuclear deal.

The four powers’ carefully worded letter stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a “violation” of the resolution, which “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.

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