A MILITARY truck carrying a missile and a picture of Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei drives in a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war in Tehran.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel plans to demand that the six world powers punish Iran for violations with regard to its missile program.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening [Saturday[ instructed the Foreign Ministry to contact the P5+1 countries and demand that immediate punitive measures be taken in the wake of Iran's repeated and gross violations on the missiles issue,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
The six world powers are the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
“This is an important step in and of itself and is also a test of the major powers in enforcing the nuclear agreement,” the PMO said.
It issued the statement after Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted a series of ballistic missile tests last week. The United States, France and other countries said that if confirmed, the new launches of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate
UN Security Council resolution 2231.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon wrote in an urgent letter sent to members of the Security Council on Saturday, calling for them to condemn Iran’s test launch of two ballistic missiles last week.
“Iran continues to disregard its obligations to UN resolutions,”“This latest provocation makes it clear that the ‘smile campaign’ of the current regime is nothing more than a smokescreen to disguise the real intentions of the ayatollah regime,” Danon added.
The ambassador pointed out that the missile test is “a gross violation” of Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group (six world powers). The resolution restricts Iran from firing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Danon noted the phrase “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” was written on both of the missiles, and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh recently declared that Iran’s missile arsenal can hit all of Israel’s territory.
According to Iranian television, Hajizadeh also said Iran’s ballistic missiles program “will not stop under any circumstances,” and that Tehran has missiles ready to be fired.
“The Security Council must not stand by in silence when one member state of the United Nations calls for the annihilation of another member state [and] continues to disregard it obligations to the international community to develop its aggressive capabilities,” Danon added.
On Friday the US said it planned to raise the issue with the UN Security Council this week.
"We will raise these dangerous launches directly at Council consultations, which we have called for, on Monday," US Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement. "These launches underscore the need to work with partners around the world to slow and degrade Iran's missile program." Power said Iran's missile launches were "provocative and destabilizing."
"Moreover, Iranian military leaders have reportedly claimed these missiles are designed to be a direct threat to Israel," she said. "We condemn such threats against another UN member state and one of our closest allies." Power added that Washington would continue to demand "full implementation of resolution 2231, which expressly prohibits third-party support to Iran's ballistic missile program, as we also consider our appropriate national response." The closed-door consultations on Iran will take place Monday morning.
The United States has said Iran's missile tests do not violate the terms of an historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, which resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015, endorsed. The UN missile restrictions and an arms embargo on Iran are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.
Council diplomats say they will first await confirmation from national intelligence agencies about whether the missiles Iran has fired were nuclear-capable. They also say that Russia and China, which had opposed continuing UN restrictions on Iran's missile program, would likely block council action.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the tests were not in violation of the nuclear agreement, which led to lifting of sanctions in January.
Western diplomats say resolution 2231, which "calls upon" Iran to refrain from certain ballistic missile activity, offers no green light for nuclear-capable missile launches by Tehran and is therefore a clear ban.
However, they acknowledge that Russia, China and Iran likely interpret that language as an appeal to Iran to voluntarily refrain from missile activity. Tehran has also said that none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.
While no new UN sanctions may be imminent, Western diplomats say that the United States and some of its allies could take additional punitive action in the form of unilateral national sanctions against Iran over the latest missile launches, something Washington has done previously.
When UN sanctions on Iran were lifted in January, the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee was shut down. But council diplomats said they expect the former chair of that now-defunct committee, Spain, will take on the task of overseeing the monitoring of Tehran's compliance with resolution 2231.