The Obama administration is considering how to respond to an Iranian ballistic missile launch that violated UN Security Council resolutions, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday, as senators pressed for a strong reaction.
“We are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that launch in October,” Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementing an international nuclear deal with Iran, told a Senate committee hearing.
Concerns in the United States about the agreement have intensified since Iran’s rocket test on Oct. 10 and other events seen as hostile, including the conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been held by Tehran for more than 500 days.
According to a report by the Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran, the Islamic Republic violated a UN Security Council resolution in October by test-firing the medium-range Emad missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, leading to calls in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday for more sanctions on Tehran.
The Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran said in the confidential report, first reported by Reuters, that the launch showed the rocket met its requirements for considering that a missile could deliver a nuclear weapon.
The panel said: “On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929″.
Iran has maintained that any new sanctions would jeopardise the nuclear deal. On Wednesday, Iran’s Defence Minister was quoted as saying by state media that Iran will not accept any restrictions on its missile programme.
This month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its long-awaited official report on Iran’s nuclear weapons work this week, concluding that Iran secretly pursued a nuclear weapons programme until 2009 – longer than previously believed. The findings contradict Iran’s claim that its nuclear work was purely for peaceful purposes.
A formal nuclear agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – between Iran and the P5+1 was signed in Vienna on 14th July 2015, following two years of negotiations.