Middle East

U.S. says will raise Iran missile test at U.N.

This picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

WASHINGTON: The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it appeared Iran’s missile test announced over the weekend violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and that Washington would raise the incident at the United Nations.

Iran said it tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile Sunday, signaling an apparent advance in Iranian attempts to improve the accuracy of its missile arsenal.

“It’s deeply concerning that this latest violation does appear to be a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 and we’ll obviously raise this at the UNSC as we have done in previous launches,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“We’re going to raise the incident at the U.N. and then we’ll continue to do this for any and all Iranian violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” he added.

Speaking to reporters outside the Security Council chamber in New York, Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said “the existing [sanctions] architecture remains in place” for the time being, adding that the council’s Iran sanctions committee should look into the incident.

Ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 from 2010, a resolution that will remain valid until the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers goes into effect.

Once the deal takes effect, Iran will continue to be “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for up to eight years, according to a council resolution adopted in July after the nuclear deal was announced.

The resolution says that when the deal is in effect countries will be allowed to transfer missile technology and heavy weapons to Iran on a case-by-case basis if the Security Council approves.

However, a U.S. official said at the time this provision was meaningless because “as a matter of policy the United States will veto any suggested transfer of missile technology to Iran.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said the missile test appeared to be a violation. Toner and Earnest both said the issue was separate from the Iran nuclear deal, which focused on Iran’s atomic program.

Iran state TV showed Sunday what appeared to be a successful launch of the new missile, named Emad, which will be Tehran’s first precision-guided weapon with the range to strike its regional enemy Israel.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 14, 2015, on page 1.

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