A missile test conducted by Iran seems to have violated a U.N. ban. The country test-fired a missile in October, that may be able to deliver a nuclear warhead. The testing of any such missiles are banned by the U.N. and may jeopardize the delicately constructed nuclear deal between Iran and the Security Council.
A confidential Security Council report has claimed that Iran test-fired a medium range missile that is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. By doing so, the country has violated a U.N. resolution that has banned ballistic missile tests, reported Reuters. The Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran commented on the alleged infraction.
“The launch showed the rocket meets requirements for considering that a missile could deliver a nuclear weapon. 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.”
Iran has refuted the report. The country further added that the test was routine, quite similar to rocket launch tests conducted in 2012 and 2013, reported Slate. Diplomats from the country attempted to downplay the test conducted on October 10, stating it was not technically a violation of the July nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Nonetheless, the test is likely to put Barrack Obama’s administration in an awkward position as it is one of the main countries that pushed for the landmark nuclear deal.
It is important to note that the scenario has changed significantly in 2015. This is the first test of a ballistic surface-to-surface missile which has been conducted after Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal on July 14 with the six world powers. The deal, endorsed by the Security Council on July 20, prohibits Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles that are capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran maintains that none of its missiles are capable to carrying nuclear warheads and hence the test wasn’t a direct violation of the U.N. ban.
The nuclear deal signed by Iran will lift many of the crippling sanctions imposed against it for several decades. While the U.S. has requested the Security Council to take action against Iran, any new sanctions would jeopardize the nuclear deal, cautioned Iran. If America calls for sanctions, the carefully compiled nuclear deal could fall apart. But if America doesn’t push for punitive action for the missile test that violated the U.N. ban, it would be perceived as weakness.
Interestingly, the missile test conducted by Iran wasn’t exactly covert. In fact, it was widely covered by local Iranian media. The reports that appeared in the media included photos and comments by Iranian officials and information shared by other officials involved with the test. Incidentally, it was this information, that the panel of experts largely relied on, to compile their report, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The test was conducted in a desert location in the northwest or northeast of the country. The report stated that the missile had a range of at least 620 miles (1,000 kilometers). The missile was capable of delivering a payload ranging between 2,200 pounds and 3,086 pounds. The panel noted that any ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload could have minimum range of just 186 miles and needed to be capable of ferrying just 1,102 pounds. Needless to say, these specifications are far lower than what were reported about the missile tested in October, reported Fox News. In simpler words, the panel is confident that the missile Iran tested recently, can easily ferry a nuclear warhead, but Iran maintains that none of its missiles are intended or designed to do so.
Countries participating in the nuclear deal have asked the Security Council to investigate and take “appropriate action.” Quite a few Iranians, including its Supreme Leader, have never been supportive of the nuclear deal. Will this test, that seemingly violates U.N. ban, jeopardize it?
[Photo by Atta Kenare/Getty Images]