The United States on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to condemn Iran’s ballistic missile test, which it described as “dangerous and concerning” and a violation of a UN resolution.
The council met behind closed doors at the request of France and Britain which along with the United States have accused Iran of test-firing a ballistic missile on Saturday.
France and Britain maintain that missile launches are inconsistent with the UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal while the United States has taken a harder stance and maintains it is an outright violation.
“Iran’s recent ballistic missile test was dangerous and concerning, but not surprising,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement.
“The international community cannot keep turning a blind eye every time Iran blatantly ignores Security Council resolutions.
“If the Security Council is serious about holding Iran accountable and enforcing our resolutions, then at a minimum we should be able to deliver a unanimous condemnation of this provocative missile test,” she said.
Iran has neither denied nor confirmed the launch that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said involved a missile of a medium range, capable of carrying multiple warheads and striking parts of Europe and the entire Middle East.
The UN resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, but does not specifically bar Tehran from missile launches.
Iran has long maintained that its missile program is defensive in nature and not aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance supported by Russia at the Security Council.
“This is inconsistent behaviour with (resolution) 2231 and it concerns the council,” British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters ahead of the meeting.
“We need to know exactly what happened and then we will reach a judgment about how we want to characterise it,” she said.
The United States decided in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran, to the dismay of its Europeans allies.
The nuclear deal provides for a lifting of sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear activities.
The remaining five signatories to the nuclear deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have backed an EU effort to set up a special payment system in a bid to maintain trade and business ties with Iran.