Iran conducts 4th missile test since signing nuke deal
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Iran conducts 4th missile test since signing nuke deal

North Korean-developed rocket explodes after launch, just days after Tehran vows to defy UN resolution on tests

Illustrative: A missile launched from the Alborz mountains in Iran on March 9, 2016, reportedly inscribed in Hebrew, 'Israel must be wiped out.' (Fars News)
Illustrative: A missile launched from the Alborz mountains in Iran on March 9, 2016, reportedly inscribed in Hebrew, 'Israel must be wiped out.' (Fars News)

Iran this week conducted its fourth ballistic missile test since it signed the nuclear deal with world powers last year, FOX News reported Friday, citing intelligence officials. The test failed.

Tehran’s new ballistic missile, made using North Korean technology, exploded shortly after launch outside the city of Isfahan overnight Tuesday, the sources said.

According to the report, the maximum range of the missile is 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers), more than twice the distance between Tehran and Jerusalem.

The launch came days ahead of the anniversary of the nuclear rapprochement deal signed on July 14 between the Islamic Republic and major world powers.

Though not banned by the 2015 agreement, the launch violates United Nations resolution 2231, that bans Tehran from ballistic missiles testing for eight years.

Last week, Iran said it would continue its ballistic missile program after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the missile tests were not in the spirit of the nuclear deal.

In comments published on Iran’s foreign ministry website July 8, spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said that “Iran will strongly continue its missile program based on its own defense and national security calculations.”

He said that Iran’s missile program was not linked to the nuclear deal and did not conflict with the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the agreement.

Later that day, Tehran dismissed Ban’s report as biased and urged him to produce “a fair and realistic report.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at a United Nations school in Gaza City on June 28, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Reuters on Friday quoted an Iranian Foreign Ministry source as telling Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency that, “I suggest that Mr. Ban give a fair report … in which he also mentions America is not fulfilling its commitments under the deal.”

In his first six-monthly report to the UN Security Council on implementation of a resolution endorsing the deal, Ban called on Iran to stop conducting ballistic missile launches. He said such actions could increase tensions in the Middle East.

But Ban’s report stopped short of saying the missile launches were a violation of the resolution.

The resolution “calls upon” Iran not to launch any ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. But when several Iranian test-firings were raised in the Security Council in March, Russia said the launches did not violate the resolution because “a call” is not a demand.

Iran underlined in the report that it had never sought to acquire nuclear weapons and never would. It said the resolution does not prohibit legitimate and conventional military activities.

The resolution, which was adopted on July 20, 2015, authorized measures leading to the end of UN sanctions.

When the UN nuclear agency certified in mid-January that Iran had met all of its commitments under the nuclear deal, many Western economic sanctions that had been in place for years were lifted, unlocking access to some $100 billion in frozen assets and sparking a rush of high-level visits by western leaders, as well as business deals. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions, and the UN resolution includes a provision that would automatically reinstate sanctions if Tehran reneges on its promises.

The US, France, Britain and Germany called in March for the Security Council to discuss “appropriate responses” to Iran’s ballistic missile activity, which they said were “destabilizing and provocative.”

But no action has been taken, and the divisions in the council on whether the ballistic missile launches violated the UN resolution make it unlikely that Iran will face new sanctions.

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