This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told the UN Security Council that Washington would seek to work with the 15-member body to reimpose ballistic-missile restrictions on Iran.
In his December 12 address to the council meeting on Iran, Pompeo also said a UN arms embargo on Tehran should not be lifted in 2020.
“We risk the security of our people if Iran continues stocking up on ballistic missiles,” Pompeo said.
Iran has “hundreds of missiles which pose a threat to our partners in the region,” Pompeo said, referring to Israel and Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia.
He called on the Security Council to establish “inspection and interdiction measures in ports and on the high seas to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.”
“We risk escalation of conflict in the region if we fail to restore deterrence. And we convey to all other malign actors that they, too, can defy the Security Council with impunity if we do nothing,” he said.
Responding to Pompeo, Iranian envoy Eshagh Al Habib said the U.S. secretary of state was casting Iran as a threat to sell more “beautiful weapons,” sarcastically quoting Trump’s rationale for backing Saudi Arabia.
The Security Council meeting comes after a senior Iranian military commander confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic-missile test that was condemned by Western powers.
“We are continuing our missile tests and this recent one was a significant test,” the Fars news agency quoted Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh as saying on December 11.
The council met last week to discuss the December 1 test, which the United States said violated UN Resolution 2231, which was passed as part of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Britain and France described the test as “provocative” and “inconsistent” with the resolution.
Russia, which has veto power, has defended Iran’s right to carry out missile tests.
Resolution 2231 has called for Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon but does not specifically forbid Tehran from missile launches.
Tehran says its missile program is defensive and not aimed at building an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles.
Trump has made pressuring Iran a major focus, withdrawing the United States in May from a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and reimposing sanctions lifted under the agreement.
Trump said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq.
European powers said they were working to ensure that Iran sees the economic fruits of compliance, but Iran’s economy suffered a major blow due to the renewal of sanctions by Washington.