US envoy to UN warns Iran missile test 'unacceptable'

US envoy to UN warns Iran missile test 'unacceptable'
3 min read
01 February, 2017
The US raised alarm at the UN on Tuesday over Iran's test-firing of a medium range missile, calling it "absolutely unacceptable," after Tehran warned Washington against fuelling tensions.
Iran asserts that its missiles are not in violation of UN resolutions [AFP]
Iran's test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile is "absolutely unacceptable," US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned on Tuesday, following a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council.

The US requested the urgent talks following the weekend missile launch, the first action taken at the council by President Donald Trump's envoy.

"We have confirmed that Iran did have a medium-size missile launch testing on January 29, on Sunday. This is absolutely unacceptable," Haley told reporters.

She challenged Iran's assertion that its missiles are not in violation of UN resolutions because they are for defence purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

"They know that they are not supposed to be doing ballistic missile testing" of anything that can carry warheads, said Haley.

The ambassador said Iran was trying to convince the world that "they are being nice" before adding: "I will tell the people across the world that is something we should be alarmed about."

Haley said the US wanted to shut down supplies of missile technology to Tehran.

"No country should be supplying Iran with any of the technology allowing them to do that," she said.

No country should be supplying Iran with any of the technology allowing them to do that
- Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to UN

Iran's foreign minister refused to confirm whether his country recently conducted a missile test, asserting that the Iranian missile programme is not part of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

During a joint news conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was asked if Iran had conducted a recent missile test.

"The missile issue is not part of the nuclear deal. As all signatories to the nuclear deal have announced, the missile issue is not a part of" the deal, he said. 

Iran's missiles, he added, are "not designed for the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead ... Our ballistic missile was designed to carry a normal warhead in the field of legitimate defence." 

Zarif said he hopes the issue is not used as "an excuse for some political games by the new US administration. The Iranian people would never allow their defence to be subject to the permission of others."

The Iranian people would never allow their defence to be subject to the permission of others
- Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister 

Meanwhile the UN Security Council requested a report on the missile launch from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and from a committee set up after the council endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft maintains that the test is "inconsistent" with UN resolutions, but has not declared the launch to be a violation.

Iran has long boasted of having missiles that can travel 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles), placing much of the Middle East, including Israel, in range. Iran says its missiles are key to deterring a US or Israeli attack.

In a video posted on his Facebook page on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he planned to discuss Iran in his upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington. 

"I intend to raise with him the renewal of sanctions against Iran, sanctions against the ballistic missiles and additional sanctions against terror and also to take care of this failed nuclear agreement," Netanyahu said. 

Agencies contributed to this report