Pompeo takes aim at global institutions, gets pushback

Pompeo takes aim at global institutions, gets pushback

State-run news agency IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying the country's missile program is "defensive in nature" and does not violate any United Nations resolution.

The Trump administration is urging Europe to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Tehran had tested a medium-range ballistic missile in breach of the United Nations resolution.

On Monday, Hook said Trump's campaign of "maximum pressure" on Tehran since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal "can be effective if more nations can join us in those [sanctions]".

Iran did not take part in the Security Council consultations.

"We would like to see the European Union move sanctions that target Iran's missile program", Hook told reporters aboard Pompeo's plane as he traveled to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting.

His remarks were backed up by the United Kingdom representative on the EU's political and security committee, Paul Johnston, who said it was important to address the breadth of the Iranian challenge, and added that "important discussions would be held at the European Union foreign affairs council on December 10".

But diplomats say that after more than a year of regular talks, Iran has stood firm and maintains that its ballistic missile programme is defensive and not up for negotiation.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted that he was deeply concerned by "Iran's test-firing of a medium range ballistic missile".

France, Germany and Britain sent a letter to council, which was circulated Tuesday, saying Iran's launches of Zolfaqar and Qiam short-range ballistic missiles on September 30 and October 1 "are inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons".

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also defended the missile programme in a Twitter post on Tuesday, in which he said the U.N. Security Council resolution which endorsed the nuclear agreement did not ban Tehran from working on missiles.

A provision in the 2015 Security Council resolution calls on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles created to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons".

Tehran has neither denied nor confirmed the missile launch.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on the U.N.'s most powerful body to unanimously condemn the "provocative missile test" on December 1, calling it "dangerous and concerning, but not surprising". Aziz Nasirzadeh, said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

The raising of the potential deal breach by its European signatories comes as relations between Iran and the USA hit a low ebb after the latter's unilateral withdrawal from the agreement in May and its reimposition of sanctions on the Iranian economy.

"This is a grave and escalating threat and we need to restore deterrents against Iran's missile programme".

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are - the more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done"The central question that we face is the question of whether the system as now configured, as it exists today, and as the world exists today, does it work?"