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December 12, 2018 2:03 pm

US Secretary of State Urges Tougher UN Security Council Stance Against Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Sept. 27, 2017. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi / TIMA via Reuters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Wednesday for a tougher UN Security Council stance against Iran’s ballistic missile program.

In remarks delivered in New York at a Security Council meeting on Iran, the State Department chief said, “It is clear that the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile activity has grown since the [July 2015] nuclear deal. Iran has exploited the goodwill of nations and defied multiple Security Council resolutions in its quest for a robust ballistic missile force. The United States will never stand for this. No nation that seeks peace and prosperity in the Middle East should either.”

“Today,” Pompeo pointed out, “Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East. It has more than 10 ballistic missile systems in its inventory or in development. It has hundreds of missiles which pose a threat to our partners in the region.”

“We risk the security of our people if Iran continues stocking up on ballistic missiles,” he stated. “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.”

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Pompeo praised several US allies for their help in raising awareness of the issue — including Israel, which he said had provided “further evidence to the Security Council about Iran’s continued launches of ballistic missiles that are inherently capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

“Israel has also given evidence to the secretariat of Iran’s transfer of weapon systems to its proxies all around the Middle East,” Pompeo noted.

The secretary of state urged the Security Council to reimpose on ballistic missile restrictions that were eased as part of the nuclear deal reached by Iran and six world powers — which the Trump administration pulled out of last year.

Furthermore, Pompeo said an international arms embargo on Iran should be maintained after its current expiration date of 2020.

“Iran is harboring al-Qaida, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon, facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab, and training and equipping Shia militias in Iraq, even as we sit here today,” Pompeo said. “It is also stoking conflict in Syria and Yemen. The council must address these malign activities. It cannot reward Iran by lifting the arms embargo.”

Pompeo also advocated for the establishment of “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent the existing arms restrictions.”

“The United States is going to continue to be relentless in building a coalition of responsible nations who are serious in confronting the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity,” he pledged.

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