U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged U.N. Security Council members to rein in Iran’s missile program, several weeks after Iran reportedly tested a ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.
Speaking on December 12, 2018, Secretary of State Pompeo said, “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.”
He also called on the Security Council to keep an arms embargo on Iran in place, as well as to toughen measures on Iran’s ability to export weapons. He requested the creation of “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.” Iran is under an international arms embargo barring it from the import and export of most weapons systems that will last until October 2020, as part of the nuclear deal reached in 2015. While the U.S. has scrapped participation in the agreement, the deal — enshrined in U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 — is still in force.
The Secretary of State also took aim at Iran’s policy in the Middle East region, accusing it of “harboring al Qaeda, 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.” The U.S., as well as Saudi Arabia, have also accused Iran of supporting the militant group Ansar Allah, in Yemen. Tehran rejects the allegations. In comments on Iran earlier this month, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami called Yemen “a thorn in the eye of the Americans,” but asserted that Iran’s support for Ansar Allah is ‘spiritual’ only.
Iran confirmed earlier this week that it recently conducted a missile test. Neither the U.S. nor Iran has identified the missile tested, but Secretary of State Pompeo said on December 1 that Iran had tested a medium-range missile “that is capable of carrying multiple warheads,” which fits the reported specifications of the Khorramshahr ballistic missile.
The Iranian government has regularly argued that its missile program is essential to deterrence.