As part of an overall strategy of being tougher on Iran and its nuclear ambitions, the Trump administration should start pushing a UN Security Council Resolution to ban Iranian missile tests, former IDF intelligence chief and INSS director Amos Yadlin wrote in a position paper on Monday.
Yadlin’s article, which he co-wrote with Avner Golov, a former National Security Council official and current INSS researcher, suggested a wide range of new policies for Trump to deter and contain the Iranian nuclear threat.
Yadlin noted that one of the current problems with Iran nuclear-related dynamics is that neither the Iran nuclear deal nor UNSC Resolution 2231 actually ban Iran missile testing.
When Iran recently test-fired a ballistic missile and a ship-fired one which could potentially carry nuclear warheads, it was not clearly violating any international rule, said the former military intelligence chief.
In addition, he explained that the ship-fired missile is not covered at all, since UNSC Resolution 2231 is specifically about ballistic missiles.
The Iran nuclear deal is silent on the issue and while UNSC Resolution 2231 “calls” on Iran not to carry out ballistic missile testing. In UN parlance, “calling” for something can be interpreted more as a request than as a formal ban, Yadlin said.
Accordingly, he said that the US should push for a new resolution which formally bans all Iranian missile testing that could involve nuclear weapons delivery development, replacing the weak UNSC Resolution 2231.
Even if such a resolution is not passed, he said that a public campaign for it would send a message to Iran about new red lines and readiness by the US and the international community to assert strength on the issue.
Besides banning Iranian missile tests, Yadlin said it was critical that Trump deter and contain Iran with other clear actions and consistent messages on top of his administration’s initial “tough words” in responding to the tests.
He said that Trump should work with the US’s European allies to specify penalties imposed on Iran both for smaller violations as well as for greater ones.
He specifically noted European allies, stating that these new efforts should go forward even without Russian and Chinese help.
Yadlin said it was critical that Iran receive the message that the US is ready to walk away from the deal if Iran abused it.
Further, he said Iran must believe that the consequences of walking away from the deal could be either a return to wide international sanctions or even an international military option.
One very concrete area where he said such a strategy would payoff would be the Iran atomic energy agency’s recent announcement that it intends to start enriching uranium using the advanced IR-8 centrifuge.
Until now Iran has mostly enriched uranium with much less-advanced centrifuges.
By using the advanced centrifuge, Iran could start developing a much larger volume of enriched uranium at a faster rate while using fewer machines.
The issue has been interpreted differently under the nuclear deal and so it is another area where Iran could greatly increase its abilities to develop nuclear weapons without necessarily violating the deal – or at least it could without strong counter-pressure.
Yadlin said that the US and its allies must make it clear to Iran that there are red lines against any new Iranian developments in its nuclear program. Moreover, the US and its allies must be ready to enforce such red lines with a swift return to tough financial sanctions to achieve a scenario in which Iran neither achieves breakout nuclear weapons capability nor starts a regional war.