Top Foreign Relations Dem wants swift response to Iran ballistic missile test

Top Foreign Relations Dem wants swift response to Iran ballistic missile test
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is urging the Obama administration to take swift action at the United Nations in response to Iran's recent ballistic missile launch — including "unilateral action" if necessary. 

“The Administration should act swiftly to raise these concerns at the United Nations and take action to hold all parties involved responsible for their actions, including, if necessary, through unilateral action," said Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill Kim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Overnight Energy: EPA moves to roll back chemical plant safety rule | NASA chief says humans contribute to climate change | Pruitt gets outside lawyer MORE (D-Md.) in a statement Tuesday.

Iran on Tuesday test-fired ballistic missiles across Iran, according to its state-backed television station. The reported launches come after the U.S. rolled out new sanctions in response to a ballistic missile test in October. 

It also comes after Iran agreed to a deal with the U.S. and five other nations that would limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, a deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

The administration quickly suggested Tuesday that if the test is confirmed, it would take it up at the U.N. Security Council. 

“We're aware of, and following closely, the reports that Iran has just conducted several ballistic missile tests. To be very clear, such tests are not a violation of the JCPOA," said Mark Toner, a deputy spokesman for the State Department. "We will also encourage a serious review of the incident and press for an appropriate response." 

A United Nations Security Council resolution that barred Iran from undertaking any work on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles expired after the deal was implemented in January, but a new resolution that came into force "called upon" Iran not to undertake any work on missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. 

“I am deeply concerned by Iran’s repetitive disregard of and indifference to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran to cease any ballistic missile activities,” Cardin said.