The EU on Tuesday warned Iran against stoking mistrust by continuing ballistic missile tests, after Tehran told the new US administration not to use the issue as a pretext to create fresh tensions.
“The EU reiterates its concern about Iran’s missile program and calls upon Iran to refrain from activities which deepen mistrust, such as ballistic missile tests,” said Nabila Massrali, an EU foreign affairs spokeswoman.
The UN Security Council is due to hold emergency talks at Washington’s request later Tuesday on Iran’s recent test-firing of a medium-range missile — which Tehran has not confirmed.
The European Union helped broker a landmark accord between the West and Iran under which Tehran agreed to rein in its nuclear program in return for the lifting of western economic sanctions.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the nuclear accord, threatening to reverse it or find other ways of sanctioning Iran.
Separate UN, US and EU sanctions imposed against Iran over its ballistic missile program remain in force.
The EU spokeswoman noted that since Iran’s ballistic missile effort was not included in the nuclear accord, “the tests are not a violation.”
Additionally, it was up to the Security Council to determine if the latest test was a violation of UN resolutions on Iran’s missile program, she said.
The missile test, which Fox News reported took place on Sunday, was unsuccessful; the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles and then exploded, it said, citing US officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the test as “flagrant breach” of UN Security Council resolutions, and demanded the reimposition of sanctions against Iran.
Netanyahu said he would discuss the “handling of this whole failed nuclear accord,” with the US president during his visit to Washington next month.
The nuclear deal, intended to thwart Iran’s rogue nuclear program and championed by former president Barack Obama as a “game-changer,” has been consistently castigated by Netanyahu as “a bad deal” that actually paves the way for an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier Tuesday said Trump’s predecessor had “repeatedly confirmed” that the missile program was not part of the nuclear deal.
Tehran says its missiles do not breach UN resolutions because they are for defense purposes only and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Britain, France and the United States have sought council action over Iranian missiles launches last year, but Russia and China opposed discussion of possible sanctions that they argued would jeopardize the hard-fought nuclear deal.