US cautions Iran to halt ballistic missiles activity
Mike Pompeo says Washington will not stand and watch Tehran increase its destructive policies
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran on Thursday to cease all nuclear-related activities after Tehran announced plans for three rocket launches in coming months.
While Iran’s defence ministry said it planned to launch Space Launch Vehicles (SLVs), these incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Mr Pompeo said in a statement.
“The United States has continuously cautioned that ballistic missile and SLV launches by the Iranian regime have a destabilising effect on the region and beyond,” Mr Pompeo said, adding that an ICBM with a range of 10,000 kilometres could reach the US.
“The United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime’s destructive policies place international stability and security at risk,” he said.
France, Germany, the United Kingdom have also expressed deep concern.
“Such actions would once again demonstrate Iran’s defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” Mr Pompeo said.
Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 deal between world powers and Iran under which sanctions on Tehran were lifted in exchange for restrictions being placed on its nuclear programme. Washington pulled out of the deal last year, citing Iran's missile activity as a factor, and reimposed sanctions to block it oil sales.
“We advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation,” Mr Pompeo said.
The economic embargo has decreased the value of Iran’s currency and raised annual inflation fourfold to nearly 40 per cent in November.
“The Iranian regime is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and has proliferated missiles and related technology to its proxies around the Middle East, further flouting UNSCR 2231,” Mr Pompeo said.
According to Mr Pompeo's statement, the Iranian regime test-fired a medium range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads on December 1, and the commander of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace force has said Iran tests 40 to 50 ballistic missiles every year.
Updated: January 3, 2019 07:05 PM