March 30, 2016

Corker: Lack of UN Security Council Action on Iran Defies Assurances from Obama Administration

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today said the U.N. Security Council’s refusal to hold Iran accountable defies the Obama administration’s assurances that a ban on Tehran’s ability to test ballistic missiles would remain in place after implementation of the Iran nuclear deal this January. Diplomats cited in a Reuters report today suggest that Iran’s repeated ballistic missile tests do not technically violate provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which was adopted last July to enforce the Iran nuclear agreement.

“The implication that Iran’s ballistic tests do not violate the U.N. resolution and therefore do not justify U.N. Security Council action directly contradicts assurances made by the administration last year when it promised that restrictions would remain in place,” said Corker, who voted against lifting sanctions on Iran to implement the nuclear deal. “As many of us feared, now it appears Iran can defy those restrictions with impunity fearing no pushback from the U.N. Security Council. There is also bipartisan concern with the administration’s refusal to impose tougher penalties on Iran for these and other illicit activities.”

UNSCR 2231 states that Iran is “called upon” not to engage in ballistic missile activities for up to eight years, a lower bar than previous resolutions demanding that Iran “shall not” engage in such actions. Asked to interpret the implications of the new language in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last December, U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull, the lead coordinator for U.S. implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), assured senators that Iranian ballistic missile activities would still “violate that part of the U.N. Security Council resolution”.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was even more definitive earlier in July when he disputed that the language associated with the ballistic missile ban had been altered in the new resolution. “The exact same language that is in the embargo is in the agreement with respect to [missile] launches,” he said.