0850 GMT November 21, 2019
US President Donald Trump has stepped up Washington’s anti-Iran rhetoric since the Islamic Republic test-fired a missile last week.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls on Iran not to test missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. In compliance with the resolution, Tehran has not tested such missiles. However, the US has lashed out at the Islamic Republic for a launch that was not meant to carry out such weapons.
The resolution, which was approved by the Security Council on July 20, 2015, endorsed a nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, Britain, Russia, France, China plus Germany) a week earlier.
The White House claims that the missile test violated the resolution and the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Trump administration has sparked the controversy because it is opposed to Iran’s long-range missile tests even if they meet Tehran’s international commitments.
On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi rejected remarks by US officials against the country’s missile tests as “baseless, repetitive and provocative, saying, “none of the missiles have been designed to carry nuclear warheads”.
Qassemi also emphasized that Iran’s missile tests are not in conflict with UN Resolution 2231, adding that the country’s “legitimate defense policy complies with international regulations, and is under no circumstances negotiable”.
The US says nuclear warheads could be mounted on the missiles, while Iran has responded that the missiles are not meant to carry such weapons.
The stance of the Trump administration indicates that the White House wants to make a mountain out of a molehill to press ahead with its anti-Iran rhetoric.
Remarks by EU and Russian officials suggest that the US is using the missile test as an excuse to accuse Iran of violating the JCPOA.
On January 31, the spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini rejected the claims that the missile launch runs counter to the JCPOA.
Nabila Massrali told reporters in Brussels that “the Iranian ballistic-missile program was not part” of the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers and “hence the tests are not a violation of it”. She, however, said it was up to the top UN body to determine if they contravened its Resolution 2231 on ballistic technology.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov ruled that out, saying the resolution calls on Iran only to abstain from launching missiles able to “carry nuclear warheads”. He said the Kremlin is confident Iran has no nuclear weapons program.
The White House’s approach indicates that it wants to put pressure on Iran to violate the nuclear deal. This is because Washington is aware that breaching the accord by the US would cost dearly for the Trump administration.
The move is a psychological war organized by Israeli lobbies and Republicans as well as a group of Democrats who are at odds with Iran over it regional policy.
The US accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism. However, Syrian and Iraqi officials have hailed Iran for helping them in their anti-terror battle against terrorist groups such as Daesh.
The US is also infuriated that the Islamic Republic assists Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistant movement Hamas, which are fighting against Israel’s occupation.
Washington also continues to slam Iran for what it calls violating human rights. Although the US brands Iran as a human rights violator, it has turned a blind eye to the deaths of Palestinians at the hand of Israelis and the regime’s expansionist policy.
Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen, which has led to the killing of more than 11,000 people, has not drawn any reaction from the Trump administration.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have so far condemned crimes perpetrated against Palestinians and Yemenis. But the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to support Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
On the whole, Trump’s anti-Iran policy is aimed at pushing Iran to alter its regional policy. The new US president and his predecessors have threatened Iran with military attacks, saying, “All options are on the table”.
Last week’s remarks by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed Iran’s stance to such threats. He said Tehran is “unmoved” by the United States’ threats.
Such a stance conveys the message that Washington’s smear campaigns against the Islamic Republic will be to no avail.