UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday at the request of France and Britain after they accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range missile at the weekend, diplomats said.
The United States said the missile launch on Saturday was a violation of a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Washington has withdrawn.
That resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
France said it was concerned by the test-firing with the foreign ministry describing it as "provocative and destabilising" and "does not conform" with UN resolution 2231 on the Iran deal.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the missile test "provocative, threatening and inconsistent" with the resolution and said Britain was determined "that it should cease."
Iran has long maintained that its missile programme is defensive in nature and not aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance supported by Russia at the Security Council.
Washington’s Iran envoy Brian Hook urged the European Union to slap sanctions that target Tehran’s missile programme as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to Brussels for talks with European partners.
The United States decided in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran, to the dismay of its Europeans allies.
The nuclear deal provides for a lifting of sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear activities.
The remaining five signatories to the nuclear deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – have backed an EU effort to set up a special payment system in a bid to maintain trade and business ties with Iran. — AFP