US, Euro­peans push UN for ac­tion over ‘provoca­tive’ Iran rocket launch

Muscat Daily - - REGION -

United Na­tions - The United States, backed by France, Bri­tain and Ger­many on Wed­nes­day pushed for ac­tion at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil fol­low­ing Iran’s launch of a satel­lite rocket, de­scribed by Wash­ing­ton as a threat­en­ing and provoca­tive step.

US Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley ar­gued in a let­ter on be­half of the four coun­tries that the Si­morgh space launch ve­hi­cle sys­tem, ‘if con­fig­ured as a bal­lis­tic mis­sile’ would have a range of over 300km and enough pay­load ca­pac­ity to carry a nu­clear war­head.

‘This launch there­fore rep­re­sents a threat­en­ing and provoca­tive step by Iran’, said the let­ter seen by AFP.

Iran launched the rocket on July 27, prompt­ing the United States to im­pose sanc­tions on six com­pa­nies that Wash­ing­ton said were linked to Iran’s mis­sile pro­gramme.

‘Iran’s long­stand­ing pro­gramme to de­velop bal­lis­tic mis­siles con­tin­ues to be in­con­sis­tent with UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2231 and has a desta­bil­is­ing ef­fect in the re­gion’, said the let­ter.

Res­o­lu­tion 2231 was passed two years ago to en­dorse a land­mark 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Iran, Bri­tain, China, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia and the United States.

Un­der that res­o­lu­tion which lifted sanc­tions in ex­change for curbs on Iran's nu­clear pro­gram, Tehran is ‘called upon’ to re­frain from car­ry­ing out launches of mis­siles ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing nu­clear weapons.

Iran has re­peat­edly said that it is not seek­ing to de­velop nu­clear weapons and is not in vi­o­la­tion of the res­o­lu­tion.

In the let­ter, the United States said the tech­nol­ogy nec­es­sary for the space launch ve­hi­cle was ‘closely re­lated to those of bal­lis­tic mis­siles, in par­tic­u­lar to those of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile’.

It ar­gued that the mis­sile tech­nol­ogy con­trol regime de­fined any bal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tem with a 500kg pay­load and a range of at least 300kmas be­ing ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing a nu­clear weapon.

This in­for­ma­tion should ‘al­low the coun­cil to draw in­formed and timely con­clu­sion as to what ac­tion should be taken’, said the let­ter.

Ha­ley has re­peat­edly called on the coun­cil to re­spond to Iran’s mis­sile tests, but Rus­sia has said Iran is not in vi­o­la­tion of the res­o­lu­tion.

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