Effort to thwart Iranian missiles 'futile' so far, Pompeo says

Calls on Security Council to renew sanctions on ballistic missiles, arms embargo.

December 12, 2018 19:22
1 minute read.
Spokesperson Heather Nauert (L) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Spokesperson Heather Nauert (L) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dialogues with reporters in his plane while flying from Panama to Mexico, October 18, 2018. (photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL VIA REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chastised UN Security Council members on Wednesday for what he described as a “futile” 12-year effort to thwart Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Addressing the body in New York, Pompeo said that Iran remains “as defiant of the world’s insistence as ever” in its work on sophisticated missiles built to accommodate nuclear warheads, despite a series of Security Council resolutions directing Iran to alter course.

He described an ever-growing program that has progressed throughout the life of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a nuclear agreement from 2015 that calls on Tehran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles.

“Iran’s pace of ballistic missile activity did not diminish since the JCPOA,” Pompeo said, describing the program as “the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.”

He identified 10 ballistic missile systems in Iran’s inventory and warned the European Union that it is in their range, adding that aircraft in the Middle East are also in danger.

“Our goodwill gestures have been futile in correcting the Iranian regime’s reckless missile activity and all its destructive behaviors,” Pompeo said. “No nation can dispute that Iran is in open defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.”

The Trump administration has waged a “maximum pressure” campaign on the Islamic Republic over the past year, withdrawing from a nuclear pact with Iran endorsed by the Security Council and applying a broad set of sanctions on the state.

Administration officials say the goal of their new sanctions policy is to pressure Iran to fundamentally change its behavior, and to roll back its proxy militias embroiled in battles across the region.

Pompeo asked the council to reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the 2015 nuclear deal targeting its ballistic missile work, and also requested that members extend their arms embargo on Tehran beyond 2020 – in contravention of the JCPOA – citing its “malign behavior” in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

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