UN Asked to Take Action Against Iran Over Missile Test

The ballistic missile tested earlier this month 'is inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon,' a report submitted by the U.S., France, Britain and Germany says.

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This picture, released by Iran's Defense Ministry, reportedly shows an Emad long-range ballistic missile being tested on Sunday October 11, 2015
This picture, released by Iran's Defense Ministry, reportedly shows an Emad long-range ballistic missile being tested on Sunday October 11, 2015Credit: AP

The United States, France, Britain and Germany asked the UN Security Council on Wednesday to investigate and take "appropriate action" against Iran for conducting a ballistic missile test earlier this month, which they say violated UN sanctions.

A report to the council committee monitoring sanctions against Iran from the four countries, which U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power raised at a council meeting, said the medium-range missile launched by Iran on Oct. 10 "is inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon."

It said the missile firing is "a serious violation" of a Security Council resolution adopted on June 9, 2010 that bans Iran from undertaking "any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology."

The launch was Iran's first missile test since the historic nuclear deal reached July 14 between Iran and six world powers — the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

While condemning the ballistic missile test, the United States has made clear that it is "entirely separate" from the nuclear deal, which is aimed at preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons.

Power called the launch 'provocative" and said she underscored to the council "that the United States considers it to be a serious matter and undermines regional stability.

"We call on the (sanctions) committee, with the support of the independent UN panel of experts, to review this matter quickly and recommend appropriate action," she said in a statement.

Britain's UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the action "will depend on their technical experts' view of the launch."

"It's clear in our view that is a violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions which remain in force after the Iran deal," he said.

Rycroft said everyone wants to see the Iran nuclear deal implemented "properly and fairly and fully by all parties, but that includes ensuring that launches of ballistic missiles which are ... in clear violation of Security Council resolution have to be pursued."

Last Friday, after Power announced that the U.S. had determined that the test violated UN sanctions, President Barack Obama said "Iran has often violated some of the prohibitions surrounding missile testing."

Obama said the Iran nuclear deal was never intended to resolve the range of other issues where the U.S. and Iran have significant differences, including ballistic missiles.

He said the U.S. would continue to put pressure on Iran to make clear there are costs for its bad behavior. But he said those efforts wouldn't be any more effective if the U.S. hadn't entered into a nuclear accord with Iran.

Power stressed that the U.S. will press the council to respond to any further violations, adding that "full and robust enforcement of all relevant UN measures is and will remain critical."

Iran's Defense Minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan, told state television after the launch that the liquid-fuel missile "will obviously boost the strategic deterrence capability of our armed forces." He said the missile, named Emad or "pillar" in Farsi, was a technological achievement for Iran — able to be controlled until the moment of impact and to hit targets "with high precision."

The report from the four countries said "the missile appears to be a new variant of Iran's Shahab-3 MRBM (medium-range ballistic missile) with a maneuvering re-entry vehicle."

Since 1992, Iran has emphasized a self-sufficient military production industry, producing missiles, tanks and light submarines.

The Islamic Republic already claims to have surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can hit Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.