US rebukes Iran over missile tests

Iran missile testThe United States rebuked Iran on Friday over a series of “provocative and destabilizing” ballistic missile tests this week and all but accused the Iranians of having violated a United Nations Security Council resolution that calls on them to refrain from such acts.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement that the United States had scheduled a Security Council meeting for Monday to address what she called “these dangerous launches.”

Ms. Power’s statement elevated the tension between the United States and Iran over the missile issue, which threatens to undercut the improved atmosphere in the two months since the landmark Iranian nuclear agreement went into effect.

That agreement, between Iran and major world powers including the United States, ended or suspended many economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for monitored guarantees that its nuclear work is peaceful.

But Security Council Resolution 2231, which formally abrogated all of the Council’s nuclear-related sanctions against Iran once the agreement took effect, also included language meant to prevent Iran from launching missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

There was no immediate comment on Ms. Power’s statement from Iran’s United Nations mission.

Iranian officials have contended that the missiles that were tested are purely defensive and that their country, menaced by Israel and other unfriendly powers including Saudi Arabia and the United States, is well within its rights to have a credible military deterrent.

If Iran is found to have violated Resolution 2231, it will not constitute a violation of the nuclear agreement, but it could lead to new sanctions.

American critics of Iran have described the missile tests as a sign of defiance that bodes ill for Iran’s adherence to its peaceful nuclear pledges.

“The United States is deeply concerned about Iran’s recent ballistic missile launches, which are provocative and destabilizing,” Ms. Power said in her statement. She also criticized Iranian military leaders who were quoted in Iranian news media as saying that the missile testswere meant to be a direct threat to Israel.

“We condemn such threats against another U.N. member state and one of our closest allies,” she said. The missile launches, she said, “underscore the need to work with partners around the world to slow and degrade Iran’s missile program.” (Courtesy New York Times)


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