Iran claims missile did not defy UN resolution

Published January 31st, 2017 - 04:00 GMT
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference in Tehran on July 28, 2015 (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference in Tehran on July 28, 2015 (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

Iranian missile tests are legitimate and do not breach a UN resolution implemented as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the country's foreign minister said Tuesday.

"Our tests involve rockets without nuclear warheads," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at press conference in Tehran with French Foreign Minister Ayrault. "Therefore it is also not a violation."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that the US was looking into the exact nature of a ballistic missile test Iran launched on Sunday.

The medium-range missile was launched from a well-known test site outside Semnan, about 225 kilometres east of Tehran, and travelled 965 kilometres before exploding, Fox News said.

The test could be in violation of UN Resolution 2231 - adopted by the UN Security Council in July 2015 as part of a nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers - which requires Iran not to launch any missiles that could carry nuclear weapons.

"These tests should not become a pretext for the US to engage in new games and friction," Zarif said, adding that Iran does not require permission from foreign countries for the defence of its borders.

The European Commission was concerned about Iran's missile programme and the eroding of trust over its missile tests.

"The EU reiterates its concern about Iran's missile programme and calls upon Iran to refrain from activities which deepen mistrust, such as ballistic missile tests," commission spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.

She noted that the tests were "inconsistent" with UN Resolution 2231, adding, "Whether it constitutes a violation is for the Security Council to determine."

The UN Security Council was set to discuss the missile launch later on Tuesday, said a spokeswoman for the Swedish mission to the UN, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the council.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised late Monday to push for a renewal of sanctions against Iran during his planned meeting with US President Donald Trump on February 15.

"This is a flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution," said Netanyahu, whose staunch opposition to the Iran nuclear deal was a main factor in cooled relations with the previous US administration.

Zarif and Ayrault also used the press conference to express their opposition to a revision of the 2015 nuclear deal - something that Trump's administration has hinted at.

"We are against a new negotiation of the agreement," Ayrault told reporters via a Farsi translator.


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