In a speech to the UN Security Council delivered yesterday, Ambassador Rycroft made clear that Iran’s “continued testing of ballistic missiles which are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons is destabilising to regional security and inconsistent with Resolution 2231”.
He asserted: “The UK determines that the ballistic missiles tested by the Islamic Republic of Iran are designed to deliver a payload of at least 500 kilograms which is the weight of a first generation nuclear warhead”.
H.E. Rycroft added that “these missiles are designed to reach a range of at least 300 kilometres which would qualify as a ‘strategic strike’”. In the UK’s view, therefore, “they are designed to be inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.
He continued: “Together with international partners we wrote to the Security Council in March to express our concern, as ballistic missile launches have the potential to heighten regional and global tensions”.
H.E. Rycroft referred to a recent case in which an Iranian missile was launched with the inscription ‘Israel must be wiped out’, describing the incident as “completely unacceptable” and calling on Iran “to refrain from such provocative actions”.
Resolution 2231, which provides for the implementation of Iran deal and the termination of all previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue, places restrictions on the export of weapons by Iran.
Yet H.E. Rycroft expressed concerns that “Iran continues to provide substantial military and financial support to Hezbollah and to the Syrian regime in contravention of the UN embargo on the export of weapons by Iran”.
H.E. Rycroft urged Member States to “continue to enforce the sanctions regime on ballistic missile technology and encourage Member States to act on and report all suspected violations of these sanctions”.
He said that as a regional power, Iran is expected to “play a positive and responsible role on the significant issues which face the region”.
The Ambassador called on all participants to redouble efforts to implement all aspects of the deal which will build that confidence.
Nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted in January, leading to the country securing access to more than $100 billion from the relief. Many believe that the relief has empowered Iran’s hardliners and will help fund its regional hegemonic ambitions.
Eight Iranian missile launches are said to have taken place since the nuclear deal was signed in July 2015.