UN chief says Iran defying call to halt missile development, may have passed weapons on to Houthi Shiite rebels

UN is warning that Iran may be defying a UN call to halt ballistic missile development even as it complies with nuclear deal with six world powers

AP December 14, 2017 09:01:20 IST
UN chief says Iran defying call to halt missile development, may have passed weapons on to Houthi Shiite rebels

United Nations: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that Iran may be defying a UN call to halt ballistic missile development even as it complies with the nuclear deal with six world powers.

The UN chief says in a report to the security council that the United Nations is investigating Iran's possible transfer of ballistic missiles to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen that may have been used in launches aimed at Saudi Arabia on 22 July and 4 November.

The report on implementation of a UN resolution that endorsed the July 2015 nuclear agreement was obtained by The Associated Press.

The US Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Nikki Haley would hold a news conference on Thursday in Washington to highlight its findings as well as Iran's "destabilising activities in the Middle East region and elsewhere in the world."

UN chief says Iran defying call to halt missile development may have passed weapons on to Houthi Shiite rebels

File image of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gueterres. AP

In the report, Guterres stressed that the nuclear deal remains "the best way" to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

He said President Donald Trump's 13 October decision not to certify the agreement under US law created "considerable uncertainty" about its future. But, he added, "I am reassured that the United States has expressed its commitment to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for now."

Trump, however, has left open the possibility of pulling out of the nuclear deal.

Guterres welcomed support for the treaty from its other parties - China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, the European Union and numerous other countries.

"I encourage the United States to maintain its commitments to the plan and to consider the broader implications for the region before taking any further steps,"
he said. "Similarly, I encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to carefully consider the concerns raised by other participants in the plan."

Trump has called the agreement a bad deal, and the US has focused especially on its time limits and a provision in the security council resolution that calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Guterres said the UN is studying debris from missiles fired at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia on 22 July and at the capital of Riyadh on 4 November and also is reviewing other
information.

He said France, Germany, Britain and the United States sent a letter saying the Simorgh Space Launch Vehicle that Iran launched on 27 July, if configured as a ballistic
missile, is "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons."

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