U.S., France, Britain and Germany Urge UN Action Against Iran Over Missile Tests

A report from the United States and three allies calls the launches 'destabilizing and provocative,' Russia says tests do not violate resolution

The Associated Press
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A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, in this handout photo released by Farsnews on March 9, 2016.
A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, in this handout photo released by Farsnews on March 9, 2016.Credit: Reuters
The Associated Press

The United States and three allies called for a UN Security Council meeting to respond to Iran's recent ballistic missile tests which they say were carried out in defiance of a UN resolution.

A report from the U.S., France, Britain and Germany obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press calls the launches "destabilizing and provocative." It said the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile and Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile fired by Iran are "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons."

A Security Council resolution adopted after the Iran nuclear deal was signed last year calls for Iran not to launch any ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

But when the Iranian test-firings were raised in the council on March 14, Russia said the launches did not violate the resolution because "a call" is not a demand. Russia's stance makes any council action unlikely because as a permanent council member it has veto power.

"The resolution does not ban (the tests)," Interfax cited Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the ministry's department for non-proliferation and arms control, as saying.

Iran's UN Mission said at the time that the country "has never sought to acquire nuclear weapons and never will in the future." It said the missile tests "were part of ongoing efforts of its armed forces to strengthen its legitimate defense capabilities ... against security threats."

The report from the four Western nations was sent to Spain's UN ambassador who has been designated by the Security Council to receive communications about Iran's compliance with the resolution.

It asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report "fully and thoroughly" on Iranian ballistic missile activity "inconsistent" with the council resolution, and for the Security Council to discuss "appropriate responses."

The four nations condemned the threats against Israel in Iranian statements about the launches.

Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon welcomed the council's call for action.

"There must be consequences for Iran's hostility towards Israel," he said in a statement late Tuesday. "The international community must take action and impose sanctions against the Iranian regime."