Tehran, Iran (Picture for illustrative purposes only)
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo accused Iran of testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting parts of Europe, and issued a new warning about the risk posed by a regime that the Trump administration has called a top threat to global security.
“As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing,” Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday. “We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence.”
Pompeo described the weapon tested as a medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering multiple warheads to the Middle East and parts of Europe. Iran launched the missile earlier Saturday, and it’s capable of carrying a nuclear payload, according to a senior U.S. official who asked not to be identified discussing non-public findings.
The Trump administration has reimposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a 2015 deal that imposed limits on the country’s nuclear program. The U.S. has said the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, failed to curb what it calls the Islamic Republic’s “malign activity” in the region and its missile program.
Pompeo said the latest test violates Security Council Resolution 2231, the document that enshrined the nuclear deal. He said that resolution “bans” Iran from engaging in ballistic missile development. In fact, the document only “calls upon” Iran not to do so — a distinction that’s led Iran to claim its tests are legal.
The test comes as Pompeo’s State Department has intensified its messaging campaign in a bid to isolate Iran. Earlier in the week, Brian Hook, the department’s special envoy for Iran, accused the country of violating a weapons export ban. Speaking at a U.S. military base in Washington, Hook said Iran’s proliferation activities are getting worse, and called for a global response.
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