The UK, U.S., Germany and France have sent a joint letter of complaint to the United Nations (UN) Security Council over recent Iranian ballistic missile tests, which were conducted in defiance of Security Council resolutions.
Both Reuters and AP have reported that a joint letter from the UK, U.S., Germany and France to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that Iran has been testing missiles “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and as such the tests are “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” resolution 2231. The letter asks the UN Security Council to discuss “appropriate responses” to the tests and to report back.
In March, Iranian state television showed images of missiles, which the TV report claimed were medium-range Qiam-1 missiles, being fired from a variety of underground locations. Later images showed that the missiles were marked with the words “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew. Last month’s tests marked the third time that Iran had conducted missiles tests since a formal nuclear agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – between Iran and the P5+1 was signed in Vienna in July 2015.
Such tests are a breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1929, passed in 2010, which bans Iran from any ballistic missile development capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology. It is also a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, passed the day after July’s accord was signed, which compels Iran to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for eight years.
This week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed that Iran’s ballistic missile development will continue, in order to confront “the enemies of the revolution”. He added: “Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors”.
Iran’s Supreme Leader said that “the enemies of the revolution… use dialogue, economic trade, sanctions, military threats and any other means…We should be able to confront and defend in all of these fields”.
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.