Israel asks U.N. to punish Iran for missile tests, U.S. vows response, Tehran denies wrongdoing

By Doug G. Ware  |  March 14, 2016 at 7:21 PM
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NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) -- The Israeli government on Monday asked the United Nations Security Council to take punitive measures against Iran for the missile tests conducted by Tehran last week -- an indication, it said, that the Islamic nation cannot be trusted to hold up their end of last year's nuclear deal.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, made the formal request during a private meeting of the council Monday -- a meet specifically requested by the United States to discuss the missile tests.

"Iran's interests can no longer be hidden," Danon said.

"The time for talk is over. I call on the Security Council to take action," he added. "Iran must be held accountable, and concrete punitive steps must be taken."

Danon believes the missile tests are a worrisome signal that Tehran may have no intention of adhering to the accord, which was negotiated by Iran and the United States, plus five Western allies.

In exchange for agreeing to limit its nuclear program to peaceful purposes, Iran received the lifting of some of the crippling economic sanctions that had sickened the nation's economic health for years.

Israel's opposition to the nuclear deal is nothing new. Jerusalem staunchly rejected any proposed deal that was brokered by Iranian and Western negotiators last year.

During Monday's meeting, Danon displayed a photograph of one of the Iranian missiles that appeared to have an inscription that read, "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth" in Persian and Hebrew.

Israel's most powerful ally, the United States, pledged a firm response to Iran's missile tests -- even though Tehran claims it broke no international laws.

"These were designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Monday. "This merits a council response."

Israel, though, said the tests are a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which was introduced last summer as part of the nuclear deal.

"Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology," a passage of the resolution says.

Jerusalem Post columnist Schmuley Boteach wrote an article Monday asking whether President Barack Obama will hold Iran's feet to the fire over the missile tests.

"The White House does not want to do anything that could lead the Iranians to kick out inspectors and tear up the agreement," Boteach wrote. "Much more worrisome, however, is the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. And their repeated violations of the nuclear accord this early in the game does not bode well."

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