Israel's UN Ambassador: Iran Conducted More Missile Tests, Violated Nuclear Deal

Danny Danon says Tehran tested missiles capable of delivering nuclear payload in January, launches part of a series of violations of nuclear accord this year

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Gaza, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at United Nations headquarters.
Mary Altaffer/AP

Israel's United Nations ambassador told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Iran conducted two previously unreported ballistic missile tests in January, which he said was in violation of Security Council Resolution 2231 – the resolution that underpins the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“On 2 January 2018, Iran launched a SHAHAB 3 variant at the CHA-BAHAR (South East Iran) firing range. On 5 January 2018, Iran launched a Scud variant from a firing range 110 km North East of Kerman,” Ambassador Danny Danon wrote in a letter to the council. “Both the Shahab-3 and Scud missiles are Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) category of ballistic missiles, capable of delivering a nuclear payload of 500 kilograms for a range of over 300 kilometers. Iran’s activities are therefore in violation of Article 3 of Annex B to Security Council Resolution 2231.”

Danon described the launches as part of a series of “Iranian breaches of this resolution this year, including the missiles it fired from Syria into Israel and the armed UAV it launched from Syria into Israeli airspace.

“Iran continues to ignore its obligations to the international community and further destabilize the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the Gaza Strip. Its activities pose a direct threat to Israel and the entire region. The Security Council must remain vigilant in the face of Iranian aggression,” Ambassador Danon concluded.

The article referred to be Danon states that “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” including test launches, but stops short of an outright, legally-binding ban.

In September, Tehran tested a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers, putting most parts of the Middle East, including Israel, within range.  

>> Analysis: Hamas in Gaza, Iranians in Syria: Israel's F-35 strikes carried message to both enemies and allies

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out earlier this month from the 2015 nuclear deal that had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program. European powers continue to say the accord is the best chance of stopping Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon and have intensified efforts to save it.

On Thursday, the UN atomic watchdog indicated Iran has stayed within the main curbs on its nuclear activity imposed by its deal with major powers despite the U.S. pullout from the pact, but could be quicker to provide extra access to inspectors. 

In its first such report since Trump announced Washington's withdrawal on May 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had complied with limits on the level to which it can enrich uranium, its stock of enriched uranium and other items. 

It did, however, rebuke Iran for dragging its feet over so-called "complementary access" inspections under the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which Iran is implementing under the deal.