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Corker Condemns Lack of U.S. Response to Illicit Iranian Ballistic Missile Tests

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today condemned the lack of a U.S. response to repeated Iranian ballistic missile tests that violate existing U.N. Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). U.S. officials yesterday confirmed in media reports that Iran conducted an illicit ballistic missile test on November 21, which represents the second such launch since the Iran nuclear agreement was reached in July.

“Iran violates U.N. Security Council resolutions because it knows neither this administration nor the U.N. Security Council is likely to take any action,” said Corker. “Instead, the administration remains paralyzed and responds to Iran's violations with empty words of condemnation and concern. These continued violations without consequences also validate concern that all leverage will shift to Iran once sanctions are removed. If we cannot respond to a clear violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, I have no faith that the U.N. and the Obama administration will implement any form of snapback in response to Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement.

“The administration has the authority to penalize foreign individuals who engage in proliferation-related activities like ballistic missile launches,” added Corker. “They have used that authority in the past, and should do so again.”

Following Iran’s October 11 ballistic missile test, Senator Corker, along with committee members Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry seeking a determination on whether the test violated UNSCR 1929 and how the U.S. would respond. The State Department’s letter in response asserted U.S. authority and precedent for imposing unilateral penalties for Iran’s missile-related activities. So far the administration has not taken such action despite acknowledging Iran’s violation of the UNSC resolution.

Senators Corker and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a separate letter to President Obama last week presented their plans for ongoing oversight of the Iran nuclear deal. The two senators coauthored the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 which requires the administration to certify every 90 days that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. A failure to provide the certification or a material breach by Iran would make available expedited procedures for consideration of legislation in Congress to reimpose sanctions. An additional semi-annual report from the administration also will provide detailed information regarding Iran’s nuclear-related activities, including work on ballistic missiles.