Representatives Joe Kennedy (D – Mass.) and Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) urged President Barack Obama to enforce sanctions against Iran for its recent test launches of ballistic missiles, Politico reported on Wednesday.
“Iran violated UNSC Resolution 1929, which remains in effect until the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] is implemented, as well as UNSC Resolution 2331, which takes effect after Implementation Day,” the congressmen wrote in a letter, according to a statement published on Kennedy’s website. They emphasized that the president must act unilaterally if the United Nations fails to hold the regime accountable.
The congressmen also pointed out that the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is based on “strict enforcement,” so dismissing these breaches would signal to Iran that it can continue flouting international law without repercussion.
“These two missile launches are in clear violation of existing UNSC resolutions, and if the Security Council refuses to hold the Iranian government accountable, the United States must take action unilaterally,” Kennedy said. “As we move towards implementation of the JCPOA, ignoring violations of the agreement will send a troubling signal to not only Iran, but to our allies in the region about our commitment to vigorously enforcing its restrictions.”
Deutch added, “Failure to hold Iran accountable for these violations sends a dangerous message to the regime that it can abandon its obligations under international law and threaten the security of the United States, Israel, and our allies without consequence.”
Also on Tuesday, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R – N.H.) and Mark Kirk (R – Ill.) expressed their concern over the White House’s lack of response to the two missile launches. Administration officials sought to mitigate these concerns, with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power saying,“The U.S. is conducting a serious review of the reported incident.” At a press briefing, State Department Spokesman John Kirby added that the U.S. would “take the appropriate actions” against Iran if it had violated UN Security Council resolutions with the ballistic missile tests. A reporter challenged Kirby, observing, “this is very similar rhetoric from this podium that was said back in October about the last launch. There’s concern that Iran is not getting the message.”
After Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in October, Power indicated that the regime had breached Security Council resolutions, and the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany urged the UN sanctions committee to take “appropriate action” against Iran for its “serious violation.” At the time, 11 Democratic senators also asked Obama to “consider unilateral and multilateral responses” to confront Iran’s “clear non-compliance with UNSCR 1929 and to deter future violations.”
In October, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that “the nuclear deal will be rendered void” if any attempts are made to reimpose sanctions on the regime.
After Iran revealed its intention to test ballistic missiles following the announcement of the nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani declared that the regime “will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution” that would prevent it from acquiring or developing weapons.
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