Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP, expressed concern over Iran’s ballistic missile programme, in response to a question asked by Michael Gove MP during a House of Commons statement on Iranian Nuclear Power.
The Middle East Minister’s response came in light of Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile test on the 29th January, an event that was criticised by the international community as hindering confidence in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Former Justice Secretary, Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP asked what conclusion the Government had made with regards to the “level of Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”.
The Middle East Minister said in his response that since the implementation of JCPOA in January 2016, “Iran placed two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage and dispensed with 98% of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. For 10 years it will take Iran at least 12 months to produce enough fissile material for a weapon”.
He continued stating that while the Iranian missile test “was not a breach of JCPOA”, it was “inconsistent” with UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Mr Ellwood confirmed that the Government is “committed to ensuring that UN and EU sanctions which impose restrictions upon this programme continue to be robustly enforced”.
He added: “The Government remains concerned about Iran’s destabilising activity in the region; we continue to encourage Iran to work constructively with its neighbours to resolve conflicts and promote stability”.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231, implemented days after JCPOA, states that Iran cannot “undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”.
Since the JCPOA was first signed in July 2015, at least 14 Iranian missile launches are said to have taken place.