The broadcast, which showed an underground depot with the same precision-guided missiles that were tested by Iran in October, was a “defiant move” meant to “irk” the United States, according to Reuters. A United Nations panel determined last month that Iran’s October test violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929. The facility where the missiles are being stored is embedded in mountainous terrain and run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Following the U.N. ruling and congressional pressure, the Obama administration last week prepared to impose sanctions on companies and individuals involved in Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program. However, after sustaining pressure from Tehran, the White House decided to put the sanctions on hold indefinitely. The administration’s retreat drew a sharp rebuke from Rep. Steny Hoyer (D – Md.), the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, who wrote in a letter over the weekend:
I am disappointed that the Administration has delayed punitive action in response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. We are always in a sensitive moment in our dealings with Iran, and there is never a perfect time to undertake such actions. But Iran must know with certainty that violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, both inside and outside the scope of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will be met with serious consequences. Under that agreement, Iran’s non-nuclear violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions will merit punitive action, and I will continue to press for decisive action by the United States and our international partners. Otherwise, we will have a serious problem with our credibility in enforcing the JCPOA.
The White House’s inaction in the face of Iranian provocations, including two ballistic missile launches, the sentencing of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and the arrest of Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, prompted Bloomberg View analysts Josh Rogin and Eli Lake to conclude on Monday that the administration is tilting towards Iran at the expense of America’s traditional Gulf allies.
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