Iran launched several ballistic missiles today in violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 2231. Despite what Obama claims, Iran violated the P5+1 nuclear ‘deal.’ It televised the missiles launch on state television, and government officials bragged that its “main enemies’” efforts could not halt the program:
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s [Revolutionary Guard] aerospace arm, said sanctions would not stop Iran developing its ballistic missiles, which it regards as a cornerstone of its conventional deterrent. “Our main enemies are imposing new sanctions on Iran to weaken our missile capabilities… But they should know that the children of the Iranian nation in the Revolutionary Guards and other armed forces refuse to bow to their excessive demands,” the IRGC’s website quoted Hajizadeh as saying.
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A state television report showed a missile being fired from a fortified underground silo at night time. The presenter said it was a medium-range Qiam-1 missile, and the test took place in the early hours of Tuesday.
When nuclear negotiations began the Obama administration dispatched officials to the Hill to ask Congress to back off on its plans to pressure Iran. In exchange Obama promised that any final deal would include a rollback of Iran’s ballistic missile program. The Iranians not only refused to discuss making ballistic missile concessions – at one point Iran’s Foreign Ministry Mohammad Yavad Zarif literally laughed in the face of American negotiators who tried to bring it up. Instead, he began quietly moving to get relief from ballistic missile sanctions.
Days before the final round of Vienna talks the U.S. military community expressed alarm over rumors that U.S. negotiators would make concessions on ballistic missiles.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told lawmakers “we should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter echoed that the U.S. “want[s] them [Iran] to continue to be isolated as a military and limited in terms of the kinds of equipment and material they are able to procure.”
In Vienna, U.S. diplomats nonetheless ceded to a particular Iranian interpretation of UNSCR 1929 under which Iran was entitled to relief from ballistic missile sanctions, and agreed to lift the U.N.-imposed embargo on ballistic missiles in 8 years’ time. The concession was a diplomatic choice not justified by the text of the UNSCR, and American diplomats were subsequently criticized for not holding their position. Iranian FM Zarif bragged after Vienna that the international ban on Iranian missile R&D had been transformed into a “non-binding restriction.”