A United Nations council admitted Iran broke a security council resolution when it tested a ballistic missile in October, says Reuters.
According to a confidential report obtained by Reuters, the United Nation Security Council’s Panel of Experts reviewed Iran’s testing of an Emad ballistic missile and found the regime was in violation of a Security Council resolution. “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,” reads the 10-page report.
Security Council resolution 1929 was created in 2010 and bans Iran from engaging in ballistic missile tests. According to the text of the resolution: “[the Security Council] decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.”
When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran deal, was decided upon and accepted by the U.N., security council resolution 2231 replaced resolution 1929. The new language says “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for approximately eight years.
“This represents substantially weakened language from UNSCR 1929,” explains arms control expert Jeremy Lewis, speaking to The Daily Caller News Foundation, “diplomats usually understand “calls upon” to be in the nature of a recommendation.”
According to IranWatch.org, a site dedicated to Iranian security issues, “as with several other components of the JCPOA, Iranian compliance with a ban on ballistic missile activity is non-mandatory. The Security Council is merely exhorting Iran (“Iran is called upon”) to refrain from such activity.”
While negotiations on the Iran deal were ongoing, President Barack Obama frequently reiterated that “if Iran cheats, we can catch them and we will.” Obama also claimed that “without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East.”
“[The] weakened language exists precisely because the JCPOA does not require Iran to limit its ballistic missile program to receive sanctions relief,” says Lewis, who notes that some of his colleagues in the field were critical of this point, “to put it simply: the test violates UNSCR 2231 but not the JCPOA.”
“I suspect that Iran is conducting these tests now to underline that point and assert their right to continue testing ballistic missiles. That is bad for regional security,” Lewis explains. “I expect that Iran’s missile program will spur its neighbors to expand their own missile programs; in fact I believe they have already begun to do so.”
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