Dem Senators Urge U.S. Response to Iran’s Missile Tests
A group of 21 Democratic Senators have sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing profound concern with Iran’s second ballistic missile test conducted on November 21, 2015, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The missile test was first reported by Fox News, which said a mid-range missile with a range of 1,200 miles was launched from a site near the Gulf of Oman. This the 2nd incident in the past two months since the nuclear deal was signed in July.
Last Tuesday, a UN probe concluded that Iran’s medium-range Emad rocket test on October 10th, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, was indeed a violation of a the body’s Security Council resolution. “On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council Resolution 1929,” the council’s Panel of Experts on Iran said in its report, according to Reuters. “The Panel assesses that the launch of the Emad has a range of not less than 1,000 km with a payload of at least 1,000 kg and that Emad was also a launch ‘using ballistic missile technology,’” the report said.
In the letter, led by Senator Chuck Schumer, who was opposed to the deal, the Democratic lawmakers urge Obama to take action “unilaterally” to make clear to the Iranian regime that “there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the JCPOA to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism, and human rights.”
Read the full text of the letter, sent on December 17, below:
Dear Mr. President:
We are deeply concerned by Iran’s continued violations of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1929 by testing a second ballistic missile on November 21, 2015. Once again, the international community has an opportunity to demonstrate its resolve in the face of Iranian violations of its international obligations.
On December 15, a panel of expert monitors working on behalf of the United Nations Security Council reported that, “On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that the Emad launch on October 10th is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council Resolution 1929.” Unfortunately, some members of the UN Security Council failed to condemn this violation and failed to take steps collectively to enforce Resolution 1929. If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
The November test is Iran’s second recent violation of UNSCR 1929, which clearly states “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.” Clearly, the Security Council should take appropriate enforcement action against Iran in the face of this violation. On this matter, we recognize and appreciate United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s ongoing efforts to build support to enforce consequences for the October 10 ballistic missile test by referring the issue to the Iran Sanctions Committee and advocating for a forceful response by the UN Security Council. However, in the time it took the Panel of Experts to make a determination on the first violation, Iran tested another ballistic missile.
In the absence of a UN Security Council commitment to enforcing UNSCR 1929, we request that you take action unilaterally, or in coordination with our European allies. Such action is essential to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the JCPOA to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism and human rights.