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Netanyahu Calls on Powers to Punish Iran for its Missile Tests - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured on 06 Mar, 2106, demanded “immediate punitive measures be taken” after Iran fired two long-range ballistic missiles and other similar tests.

Jerusalem – Following Iran’s ballistic missile tests last week, came on Saturday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for the world powers to take “immediate punitive steps” against Iran; noting that Iran from its side said that the tests do not violate the agreement.

The international concern came as a result of a series of tests conducted by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards; the action was followed by statements from each of United States, France and other countries saying that, if confirmed, the launch of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate U.N. Security Council resolution 2231.

A statement from Israeli PM Netanyahu ‘s office said he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to appeal to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, the powers who negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, to act. Noting that the latter has been heatedly opposed to the international deal with Iran which led to the lifting of economic sanctions in January, and his position has put him at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama.

“(The powers) must take immediate punitive steps following the repeated gross transgressions by Iran in the matter of the rockets,” the statement said, adding that it would be “a test for the powers’ ability to enforce the nuclear agreement.”

Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said on Friday that the United States stated that it would raise the issue during closed door U.N. Security Council consultations next week and is urging countries to be cooperative in regard of undermining Tehran’s missile program.

Nevertheless, the United States has said Iran’s missile tests do not violate the terms of a historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, which resolution 2231 – adopted in July 2015 – endorsed. The U.N. missile restrictions and an arms embargo on Iran are not technically part of the nuclear agreement. Council diplomats say they will first await confirmation from national intelligence agencies on whether the missiles Iran fired were nuclear-capable.

In addition to the aforementioned, they also say that Russia and China, which had opposed continuing U.N. restrictions on Iran’s missile program, would probably block council action.

Although, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted last week as saying that Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles were designed to be able to hit Israel; however Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the tests were not in violation of the nuclear agreement.

Brigadier-General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by Iran’s ISNA news agency; “The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance”.