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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US: Iranian Missile Launch 'Absolutely Unacceptable'

By VOA News February 01, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser denounced Iran's ballistic missile launch Wednesday and said Tehran is putting at risk the nuclear agreement it reached in 2015 with the United States and other major powers.

Retired General Michael Flynn, the president's top security adviser, condemned the missile launch, declaring it was "just the latest in a series of incidents" in which Iran has threatened the U.S. and its regional allies over the past six months. He said leaders in Tehran were emboldened to take such actions now because the nuclear agreement is "weak and ineffective," and because the other nations involved in the agreement failed to take action to rein in Iran's military ambitions.

Flynn blamed former President Barack Obama and other members of his administration for Iran's actions.

"The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran's malign actions – including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms," Flynn said at the White House. "The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk."

Flynn did not, however, threaten any specific action against Iran.

Resolution 2231

Iran confirmed Wednesday that it carried out a missile launch Sunday, but said this did not violate its nuclear agreement with the world powers.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which was adopted after the Iran nuclear deal was agreed upon among six world powers and Tehran, called on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles, but it did not specifically ban such activity.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, denounced Iran's missile launch as "absolutely unacceptable" during a Security Council meeting Tuesday, and said the Trump administration will not turn a "blind eye" to such actions.

During the U.S. political campaign last year, Republican candidate Trump repeatedly condemned the international powers' nuclear agreement with Iran as a "terrible" deal, and threatened to dissolve the pact. Since taking office last month, however, Trump has not acted on those campaign promises.

Britain's U.N. envoy, Matthew Rycroft, echoed Haley's concerns: "There was very significant concern about the ballistic missile launch, which has now been confirmed." He said the January 29 launch is "inconsistent" with Resolution 2231, and he urged Iran to abide by all of its obligations.

A committee that monitors implementation of Resolution 2231 will review the incident, the British ambassador said, and the Security Council also has asked U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate the incident.

Urging Tehran to consider the regional repercussions of its actions, Rycroft said, "This is a step which is potentially destabilizing in an already unstable region."

Iran's response

Iran's U.N. mission issued a statement reiterating Tehran's position that "Security Council Resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional missile activities. We reject politically motivated comments regarding Iran's missile program."

Asked during her confirmation hearing before the Senate how she would deal with the Iran nuclear agreement when representing the U.S. at the United Nations, Haley said she felt the agreement had increased the threat Iran posed to the rest of the world, and said she would focus on Iran's compliance with its provisions.

Haley said Tuesday: "What we need [Iran] to know is that Security Council Resolution 2231 means something." She said she also told the 14 other Security Council members that the resolution is only as good as its enforcement.

"So, what we are hearing from Iran is that they are being naive, saying, 'We have no intention of attacking any country.' I will tell the people across the world that is something we should be alarmed about," Haley told reporters. "You will see us call them out as we said we would, and you are also going to see us act accordingly."

Haley said the United States also will follow through to make sure prohibitions on supplying Iran with technology that enables such missile launches will be enforced.

"We have said with this administration that we are not going to show a blind eye to these things that happen," Haley said. "We're gonna act, we're gonna be strong, we're gonna be loud and we're gonna do whatever it takes to protect the American people and the people across the world, because that's what the goal is supposed to be."

VOA's Margaret Besheer and Josh Fatzick contributed to this report.

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