Iran dismisses EU powers’ letter to UN

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday rejected pressure to shelve its ballistic missile programme after a European letter to the UN Security Council accused Tehran of developing missiles.
The British, German and French ambassadors to the UN Security Council, in a letter circulated on Wednesday, called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to inform the Council in his next report that Iran’s missile programme was “inconsistent” with a UN resolution underpinning the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers.
Iran responded defiantly, saying it was determined to proceed with its disputed ballistic missile programme, which it has repeatedly described as defensive in purpose and nothing to do with its nuclear activity.
“Iran is determined to resolutely continue its activities related to ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles,” Iranian UN envoy Majid Takhte Ravanchi said in a letter to Guterres.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier on Thursday denounced the European powers’ intervention.
“Latest E3 letter to UNSG on missiles is a desperate falsehood to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling bare minimum of their own #JCPOA obligations,” Zarif tweeted, referring to the nuclear deal by its formal acronym.
The European letter surfaced at a time of heightened friction between Iran and the West, with Tehran rolling back its commitments under the deal step by step in response to Washington’s pullout from the pact last year and reimposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
A 2015 UN resolution “called upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles. Some states — including Russia, which with four other world powers wields a veto on the Security Council — argue that the language does not make it obligatory.
France said on Thursday that Iran’s ballistic missile activities did not conform with the Security Council resolution. — Reuters