Iran Can Test Ballistic Missiles

Obama is proposing new sanctions on Iran after the Islamic Republic’s second ballistic missile test. However, Iran is not in fact in violation of the nuclear deal or the UN Security Council; imposing sanctions would itself be a violation (by the US) of the nuclear deal.

What happened? UN Security Council dropped language restricting missile testing replacing it with a ‘suggested’ (but not required) 8-year prohibition of testing and of the purchase of foreign missiles. The nuclear deal makes no mention of non-nuclear testing.

On August 29th, the Iranian President said on State TV in an address to his people, that Iran would not stop testing and was not required to do so.

Why was the language changed by the Security Council?

Kerry and the Obama administration gave assurances that Iran would comply, that the UN would not let Iran get away with any ballistic missile testing, but admitted that it was not required to comply.

So now, Obama’s proposed sanctions are either hot air, or an attempt to violate the agreement. My bet is on hot air, blown to appease the American public. They are poor negotiators, but they knew the testing would occur.

The specific language in the July 20 UN Security Council Resolution 2231, found on page 99 in Annex B states, “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, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.”

“Called upon” is different than “required.’ It is ambiguously permissive.

The US Treasury Department is preparing sanctions against two groups they allege are aiding the Islamic Republic in developing its missile program. US banks will freeze their assets and US and foreign nationals will be prohibited from conducting business with them.

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