UNITED NATIONS, Dec 13 (APP)::Iran hit back at the United States for misleading the international community about the Iranian ballistic programme, saying that the project was not nuclear in nature, Iran’s envoy Eshagh Habib told the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that “Iran’s ballistic missile programme was designed to be exclusively capable of delivering conventional warheads required to deter foreign threats.”
He said it is not to deliver nuclear weapons.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the 15-member Council to again impose a ban on Iranian missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, accusing what he called were the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
“What we heard today was another series of lies, fabrications, disinformation and deceptive statement by the US,” Habib, the Iranian envoy, said, recalling the “infamous speeches” of top US officials in the past – a reference to Colin Powell’s speech to justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Pompeo also said an arms embargo on Iran should not be lifted in 2020 and called on the council to establish “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.”
“Iran is harbouring Al-Qaeda, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon, facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab, and training and equipping Shia militias in Iraq,” Pompeo told the Security Council meeting on the implementation of UN sanctions on Iran.
Habib, the Iranian envoy, accused the U.S. of violating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by pulling out of the pact and the council resolution that endorsed it.
He urged the council “to hold the U.S. accountable” for recently re-imposing sanctions it lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal.
As Pompeo looked on, he defended the need for Iran to be able to defend itself, saying that Western powers backed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as his warplanes destroyed Iranian cities in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
“What we heard today was another series of lies, fabrications, disinformation and deceptive statement by the US,” Habib said, recalling the “infamous speeches” of top US officials in the past – a reference to Colin Powell’s speech to sell the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia also made a veiled, but clear swipe at Pompeo as he denounced attempts to “fan anti-Iranian hysteria”.
“There is no proof that the ballistic missiles can carry a nuclear load,” Nebenzia told the Council, adding that Iran “is ready for dialogue”.
The US, Britain and France have accused Tehran of flouting current UN restrictions on Tehran’s missile programme by carrying out ballistic missile launches. Iran says the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.
US President Donald Trump has made pressuring Iran a major focus of his administration, withdrawing from an international accord on curbing Tehran’s nuclear programme negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama and reimposing sweeping sanctions on Tehran.
The sanctions have dealt a severe blow to Iran’s economy and economic forecasters predict continued economic struggles for the country.
The US has also vowed to preclude all countries from doing any business in Iran, but granted waivers to eight jurisdictions, including Turkey and Iraq, when its sanctions came into effect, to allow those governments to keep purchasing Iranian oil.
Trump has said he wants to gradually impose US sanctions on Iran’s critical oil sector in order to avoid a sharp rise in global oil prices.
In response, al Habib, the Iranian envoy, described the US withdrawal from the plan, and the subsequent
re-imposition of sanctions, as ‘unlawful conduct’ and a clear violation of the resolution endorsing the plan.
He said that the Council should strongly condemn the U.S for re-imposing its illegal sanctions against Iranians in violation of the UN Charter and international law.
Meanwhile, a new report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there is staunch support among Member States for the 2016 Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, but it is tempered by concerns over some of its other activities, which Iran should carefully consider and address.
That was one of the key messages delivered to the Security Council by Rosemary di Carlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who stressed that UN chief Guterres continues to view the JCPOA as a demonstration of successful multilateralism, and a major achievement of nuclear non-proliferation, dialogue and diplomacy.
Ms. Di Carlo reminded the Council that, last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported to the Council that Iran continues to abide by its commitments with regard to ballistic missile tests reportedly carried out by Iran since January 2018 – as well as the launch of several ballistic missiles launched at targets in Syria on 1st October.
She said that the UN has not been able to determine whether the missiles were transferred from Iran after 16 January 2016, the Implementation Day of the Security Council Resolution endorsing the nuclear plan. The UN is also analyzing information on military equipment recovered in Yemen where conflict is on-going between Government and rebel forces for control of the country, which had characteristics of Iranian manufacture.