London-U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has said that Iran’s ballistic missile tests “are not consistent with the constructive spirit” of the 2015 deal under which Iran curbed sensitive nuclear activity and won sanctions relief in return.
Ban’s report stopped short of calling the missile launches a “violation” of Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear agreement that defused Iranian-Western tensions.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Ban’s confidential report said it was up to the Security Council to decide if Iran violated Resolution 2231 which “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity related to ballistic missiles with cones that could accommodate a nuclear warhead.
Ban’s failure to announce whether the tests were in clear violation of the resolution, weakens calls for imposing new sanctions on Tehran.
International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January under the nuclear deal, but current U.S. policy bars foreign banks from clearing dollar-based transactions with Iran through U.S. banks.
The council is due to discuss Ban’s report on July 18.
The United States, Britain, France and Germany wrote to Ban in March about the missile tests, which they said were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” the council resolution.
The letter said the missiles used in the launches were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and also asked that the Security Council discuss “appropriate responses” to Tehran’s failure to comply with its obligations.
Ban’s report simply references the letter.
The U.N. chief also said he was concerned by the seizure of weapons by the United States in the Gulf of Oman in March.
“The United States concluded that the arms had originated in Iran and were likely bound for Yemen. Iran has informed the (U.N.) Secretariat that it never engaged in such delivery,” he said.
A foreign ministry official in Tehran slammed Ban’s report.
The official, who was not identified by the local media, said the U.N. chief and his advisors, who are unaware of the details of the nuclear deal, should steer clear of misinterpretations.