Iran’s missile program not in violation of UNSC Resolution 2231, Zarif tells US
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected allegations by US officials that Iran’s missile program violates Security Council Resolution 2231, saying the UN document does not ban Tehran’s missile activities.
“What has been obvious and acknowledged by the Americans themselves both in the current administration and the previous one is that neither the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nor (UN Security Council) Resolution 2231 ban Iran’s missile activities,” Zarif said on Wednesday.
He made the remarks while speaking to reporters after a weekly cabinet session, in response to allegations raised by US officials about Iran’s missile program.
He added that former US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, during the nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, and US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook, two weeks ago, said that UN Resolution 1929 forced Iran to limit its missile program, but Resolution 2231 had such a demand from Iran on a special type of missile.
The top diplomat said that Iran was not seeking nuclear capable missiles as it did not pursue a nuclear weapons program.
He said “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missiles have pin-point accuracy” and are solely designed for conventional weapons.
A senior Iranian commander says Iran intends to expand the range of its air-to-air missiles and ammunition.
“Considering that the US has pulled out of the JCPOA and been reneging on its promises enshrined in Security Council Resolution  and the JCPOA itself, it has no choice but to provide a cover-up for its breaches [of the deal] and raises such allegations. And as you saw the Security Council did not address such baseless allegation,” he said.
Zarif’s remarks come as the US is calling on the European Union to enact its own set of sanctions targeting Iran following Tehran’s alleged latest missile test.
“We would like to see the European Union pass sanctions that would designate the people and the organizations that are facilitating Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation,” Hook told Reuters on Tuesday after meetings with European powers in Brussels.
Hook claimed Iran’s tests violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that supported the nuclear accord. He also called on Tehran to stop all its ballistic missile-related activities which he alleged were designed to carry nuclear weapons.
The Security Council also met behind closed-doors on Tuesday to discuss the alleged missile test, but the session ended with no joint statement.
Iran’s UN mission said in a statement on Tuesday that Tehran was not in breach of the resolution and that all ballistic missile-related activities of the country were in full conformity with the relevant provisions of Resolution 2231.
Iran says all its missile-related activities are in full compliance with the relevant provisions of UNSC Resolution 2231.
Resolution 2231 was adopted by the UNSC in July 2015 to endorse the JCPOA.
The document terminated the provisions of previous UNSC resolutions against Iran, some of which had imposed restrictions on Iranian missile activities. Such activities are not prohibited under Resolution 2231, which merely calls on Iran “to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
Iran has stressed that its missile program is non-negotiable as it is part of the country’s deterrence.