The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted its fourth ballistic missile test since signing a controversial nuclear deal with the United Nations. Just two days before the one year anniversary of signing the deal Iran utilized North Korean technology for the missile. Ballistic missile tests are a clear violation of a UN resolution signed just days after the U.S. nuclear deal went into effect. UN Resolution 2231 explicitly prohibits Iran from “undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” Iranian officials argue that no violations were committed. They state that the Nuclear deal itself does not prohibit missile tests and that resolution 2231 was not violated because the missiles that were tested are not designed to carry nuclear weapons but for self defense purposes. U.S. and UN are concerned the information gathered from the missile tests could be adapted for nuclear applications.
The test took place near the Iranian city of Saman, nearly an hour west of the city of Isfahan at a site where Iran has conducted similar ballistic missile tests in the past. The test is considered to be unsuccessful, the missile exploded moments after takeoff. The latest test is significant because it marks the first time Iran has tested a North Korean BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile. If successfully launched the missile would allow Iran to reach U.S. forces in the Middle East and Israel.
North Korea has also been busy testing its own ballistic missiles. The country has launched five Musudan missiles in the last three months. In they’re latest test they were able to successfully launch a Musudan into space. In response to these tests the Untied States military announced that they would be building advanced anti-ballistic missile systems known as THAAD in the South Korea peninsula. At this time North Korea’s level of involvement in the missile tests are unclear. It has been confirmed that North Korean technology was used in the Iranian tests but no other evidence of their involvement has been discovered.
There has been no immediate reaction from U.S. Central Command when prompted for comments about the failed Iranian missile launch. The text of resolution 2231 calls for Iran to:
“not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,”
Despite this language specifically preventing Iran from conducting these tests for a period of up to eight years Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi has stated that the country will continue to conduct the tests for the country’s “own defense and national security calculations.”