The US government on Tuesday said it will take up the ballistic missile test Iran carried out over the weekend with the United Nations Security Council, and let the governing body determine whether or not it violated any international resolution.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed to reporters Tuesday that the issue will be raised at the international community's security panel. His remarks came just hours after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the launch indeed appears to be a violation of existing Security Council resolutions.
"Obviously, I agree with what the White House just said," Toner remarked in Tuesday's news briefing. "Any conventional arms transfers or missile activities currently prohibited by existing [UN Security Council resolutions] ... would be violations of Iran's UN obligations and should be dealt with through the appropriate U.N. channels."
Toner and Earnest both said that although Sunday's missile test might be a violation of Security Council resolutions, it is not in conflict with the nuclear program accord negotiated among Washington, Tehran and five other nations in July.
"So, we are going to raise the incident at the UN and then we will continue to do this for any and all Iranian violations," Toner said. "We have seen, for the past years, that Iran has consistently ignored UN Security Council resolutions."
"It is deeply concerning," he added.
The Tehran Times cited Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan in reporting that the test of a long-range Emad surface-to-surface ballistic missile was successful.
"We will not ask anybody's permission for increasing our defense and missile power and will pursue our defense programs in missile [technology] determinedly and the Emad missile is a good example of it," Dehqan reportedly said.
The White House shared the State Department's concerns about the test.
"We have got strong indications that those missile tests did violate UN Security Council resolutions," Earnest said. "Unfortunately, that is not new. We have seen Iran, almost serially, violate the international community's concerns about their ballistic missile program."
President Barack Obama's spokesman suggested that Tehran's missile test might have been a symbolic show of force to appease hard-line Iranian leaders who oppose the nuclear agreement, which restricts Iran's nuclear activity to the laboratory.
The remarks from Earnest and Toner came on the same day Iran's parliament approved that pact by a vote of 161-to-59. It must now be approved by Iran's Guardian Council.
The accord stipulates that Iran must submit to independent inspections, which will verify that Tehran is not developing weapons. In exchange, the United States will lift certain economic sanctions against Tehran.
By Doug G. Ware
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