The US is silently fuming over an Iranian test on November 21 of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The test is the second of its kind to violate United Nations Security Council (UNSC)resolutions.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said on Tuesday, “The US is conducting a serious review of the reported incident.” She stated that if the reports are confirmed, the Obama administration would bring the issue to the UNSC and seek appropriate action.
A Western diplomatic source told Reuters said last week on condition of anonymity that the test of a Ghadr-110, a spin-off of the Shahab-3 missile, was held near Chabahar, a port city near Iran’s border with Pakistan. He said it was a liquid-fueled missile with a 1,900 km (1,180 mile) range and was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
In October, the US, Britain and France called on the UNSC’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over a similar Iranian ballistic missile test that they said violated UN sanctions. No action was taken in connection to that complaint, though the subject is scheduled for discussion this week. If the US takes unilateral action, it would be seen as a violation of their agreement with Iran.
As part of the nuclear deal with the P5+1 powers, Iran accepted UNSC Resolution 2231 which forbids them from developing ballistic missiles for eight years. Earlier, UNSC Resolution 1929 was passed in 2010 banning Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests.
US President Barack Obama told the media that the US was preparing to brief the UN sanctions committee about the ballistic test. “I think what we’ll be doing is we’ll review, as we have in the past, any violations of U.N. resolutions, and we’ll deal with them much as we have in the past.”
After the October test, Obama explained that Iran has frequently violated missile prohibitions, saying that the US would make clear to Iran that there are costs for bad behavior. He stated that the issue of ballistic missiles is separate from the issue of nuclear arms.
US Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement condemning the lack of response to Iranian violations.
“Iran violates U.N. Security Council resolutions because it knows neither this administration nor the U.N. Security Council is likely to take any action,” said Corker.