US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
“Iran’s missile program is defensive in nature... There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting the missile program and missile tests by Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in response to Pompeo’s remarks.
Qassemi did not confirm or deny that Iran had carried out a new missile test.
Pompeo claimed in a statement released on Twitter Saturday that Iran was increasing its "testing and proliferation" of missiles and called on the Islamic Republic to "cease these activities."
Under the UN resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran is “called upon” to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is purely defensive and denied its missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.
Qassemi, addressing Pompeo, said: “It is...ironic that you cite a resolution that you have not only breached through your unilateral and unlawful withdrawal from the (nuclear) accord but that you also encourage others to breach or even threaten to punish and sanction them if they carry it (accord) out.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed Iran's compliance with the accord.
President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal, approved before he took office, in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Trump said the deal was flawed as it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its activities in the Middle East.
Trump has also warned of severe penalties for the companies that evade the bans and engage in business with Iran.
However, the European parties to the nuclear deal have vowed all-out efforts to save the agreement and protect their firms in the face of American bans.
They are now working to set up the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) in a bid to circumvent the US sanctions against Iran and facilitate non-dollar trade with Tehran.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.