Gulf News

UN coun­cil meets on Iran’s mis­sile test

US WANTS COUN­CIL TO CON­DEMN PROVOCA­TIVE LAUNCH; TEHRAN SAYS WASH­ING­TON VI­O­LATED RES­O­LU­TION

- UNITED NA­TIONS

United States and Iran traded ac­cu­sa­tions on Tues­day over Tehran’s lat­est bal­lis­tic mis­sile test, which the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil dis­cussed be­hind closed doors with­out tak­ing any ac­tion.

US Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley called on the UN’s most pow­er­ful body to unan­i­mously con­demn the “provoca­tive mis­sile test” on De­cem­ber 1, call­ing it “dan­ger­ous and con­cern­ing, but not sur­pris­ing.”

At is­sue is Iran’s com­pli­ance with the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that en­dorsed the land­mark 2015 Iran nu­clear agree­ment with Western pow­ers, which the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion pulled out of in May. A key pro­vi­sion calls on Iran “not to un­der­take any ac­tiv­ity re­lated to bal­lis­tic mis­siles de­signed to be ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing nu­clear weapons” — but it does not ex­plic­itly de­mand that Tehran do so.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has been di­vided since the res­o­lu­tion was adopted over whether the lan­guage on bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches is per­mis­sive or manda­tory.

Iran’s UN mis­sion said in a press re­lease Tues­day that “all bal­lis­tic mis­sile re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties of Iran are in full con­form­ity” with the 2015 Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and said that “it is the US that is in ab­so­lute vi­o­la­tion of the very same res­o­lu­tion” for “its un­law­ful with­drawal” from the nu­clear deal.

Bri­tain, France and Ger­many — the three re­main­ing Western pow­ers still part of the nu­clear agree­ment — had sent a let­ter to the coun­cil, which was cir­cu­lated Tues­day, say­ing Iran’s ear­lier launches of Zol­faqar and Qiam short-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles on Septem­ber 30 and Oc­to­ber 1 “are in­her­ently ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing nu­clear weapons.”

In­con­sis­tent

Bri­tain’s UN Am­bas­sador Karen Pierce told re­porters af­ter the closed coun­cil meet­ing that mem­bers ex­pressed “a lot of con­cern” about the De­cem­ber 1 test launch and stressed that the 2015 res­o­lu­tion doesn’t say nu­clear weapons must be on the mis­siles.

She called Iran’s ac­tions “in­con­sis­tent” with the res­o­lu­tion and “part and par­cel of Iran’s desta­bil­is­ing ac­tiv­ity in the re­gion.”

“There is no le­git­i­mate rea­son why Iran should flout the res­o­lu­tion and why their spokesman should pre­tend that the res­o­lu­tion doesn’t call on them not to de­velop such mis­siles,” Pierce said. “If you wanted to demon­strate to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that you were a re­spon­si­ble mem­ber of it and you were gen­uinely in­ter­ested in re­gional peace and se­cu­rity, these are not the sorts of mis­siles you would be test launch­ing.”

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo an­nounced Satur­day that Iran had test-fired a medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing mul­ti­ple war­heads “which has a range that al­lows it to strike parts of Europe and any­where in the Mid­dle East.” He called that a vi­o­la­tion of the 2015 res­o­lu­tion.

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