U.S. accuses Iran of ballistic missile launch

"As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing."

December 1, 2018 23:29
1 minute read.
AN IRANIAN ballistic missile on display in Tehran.

AN IRANIAN ballistic missile on display in Tehran. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON – Iran launched a medium-range ballistic missile “capable of carrying multiple warheads,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted on Saturday.

The secretary’s statement was not immediately followed with verifiable facts, but State Department officials said that more details would become available following the announcement.

Pompeo said that the test launch violates UN Security Council resolution 2231, which bans Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons.

But Tehran has tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles since US President Donald Trump took office in 2016, including as recently as August, according to administration officials, and throughout 2017 as well.

“As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing. We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence,” Pompeo said. “We condemn these activities, and call upon Iran to cease immediately all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

The Trump administration has embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic intended on squeezing the government to change its behavior.

Trump pulled out of a Security Council-backed nuclear agreement with Iran last year, allowing the US president to resume a broad range of biting sanctions on the country. But that agreement did not constrain Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles, the primary delivery vehicle for nuclear arms.

Pompeo’s special envoy for Iran issues, Brian Hook, says that Iran’s decision to expand its ballistic missile program after the nuclear deal was agreed in 2015 is a chief indication of its long-term nuclear designs.

John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, weighed on via Twitter on Saturday afternoon, highlighting the Iranian missile threat to Israel— its existential foe— and Europe, which has remained in the 2015 nuclear accord.

“Iran just test-fired an INF range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe,” Bolton said. “This provocative behavior cannot be tolerated.”

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