US, Allies Seek UN Action on Iran Missile Test

US, Allies Seek UN Action on Iran Missile Test US, Allies Seek UN Action on Iran Missile Test

The United States, Britain, France and Germany called on Wednesday for the United Nations Security Council's Iran sanctions committee to take action over a missile test by Tehran that they said violated a UN ban.

In a letter containing details on the launch, they claimed the ballistic missile was "inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon."

Iran says its nuclear program is for only peaceful purposes and has no military aspects.  

The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent to the committee after the United States raised the issue in the 15-member Security Council.

"We trust that this information will assist the committee in its responsibility to examine and take appropriate action in response to violations of UN Security Council resolutions," they wrote.

Iran said earlier this month that it had tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile, named the Emad.

  Opposing Positions  

Diplomats have said it was possible for the sanctions committee to blacklist additional Iranian individuals or entities if it determined that the missile launch had breached the UN ban. However, they said Russia and China, which have opposed the sanctions on Iran's missile program, might block any such moves.

"The United States will continue to press the Security Council to respond effectively to any future violations ... Full and robust enforcement of all relevant UN measures is and will remain critical," US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said in a statement on Wednesday.

Iran has disputed the western assessment that the missile was capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

"None of the Islamic Republic of Iran's missiles has been designed for a nuclear capability," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday, according to IRNA.

Ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under a 2010 Security Council resolution that remains valid until a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers is implemented. But Iran says it is not bound by previous UNSC resolutions over its nuclear work because they are not legally credible.

Tehran has made it clear that it will not compromise its defense program due to the nuclear accord. Under the deal, reached on July 14, most sanctions on Iran will be lifted in exchange for temporary limits on its nuclear program. Once it takes effect, Iran will still be "called upon" to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

US and European officials have said it is unlikely the deal will be fully implemented before next year.

The July 20 UNSC resolution, adopted to endorse the deal, allows for supply of ballistic missile technology to Tehran with Security Council approval.

The missile test is not a violation of the nuclear deal, US officials have said.