US urges UN to restore tough missile restrictions on Iran after tests

The members of the United Nations Security Council hold a meeting to vote for a resolutions on controlling the turmoil in Venezuela on February 28, 2019 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2019
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US urges UN to restore tough missile restrictions on Iran after tests

  • A 2015 UN resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles
  • Most UN sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal

UNITED NATIONS: The United States accused Iran on Thursday of defying a UN Security Council resolution with one ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December and urged the council to “bring back tougher international restrictions” on Tehran.
A 2015 UN resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons following an agreement with six world powers. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory.
In a letter to the 15-member council, acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile on Dec. 1, 2018, and attempted to place satellites in orbit on Jan. 15 and Feb. 5.
“Iran has carried out these three launches in defiance of the expressed will of the UN Security Council, and such provocations continue to destabilize the entire Middle East region,” Cohen wrote.
Asked for a response to the letter, spokesman Alireza Miryousefi for the Iranian mission to the United Nations said Iran does not have any ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons “therefore none of the ballistic missile launches of Iran are covered by that resolution.”
At a Security Council meeting in December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the body to toughen that measure to reflect language in a 2010 resolution that left no room for interpretation by banning Iran from “activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”
Cohen’s letter called upon the council to “join us in imposing real consequences on Iran for its flagrant defiance of the council’s demands and bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile program.”
The United States has not yet proposed any concrete action by the council to toughen missile restrictions on Iran. Any such move would likely be opposed by veto-powers Russia and China.
Most UN sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions.
The UN sanctions and restrictions on Iran are contained in the 2015 resolution, which also enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the deal following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States in May 2018.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.