Dem senator: Obama must respond to Iran missile test
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE is pushing the Obama administration to hold Iran accountable over a pair of ballistic missile tests, suggesting it should send a message that the country won't be able to get away with incremental violations of its nuclear deal.

"While these ballistic missile tests are outside of the parameters of the [joint comprehensive plan of action], our response has to be strategic and we have to make sure Iran knows that it can't continue to simply blatantly disregard the international community and the U.N. Security Council," the Democratic senator said.

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Coons, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, added that if the United Nations Security Council doesn't taken action against Iran over the tests, which he said violated U.N. resolutions, that the administration should be ready to take a "series of unilateral American actions including direct sanctions."

His comments come amid reports that Iran launched a ballistic missile test in November, which would mark the second in as many months. While Republicans have repeatedly questioned the administration over the tests, Coons is also the latest Democrat in the past week to raise concerns.

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden, don't punish India Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian  Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict MORE (D-N.J.) slammed "silence" from the administration and the international community in the wake of the tests.

"What has happened as a result of Iran violating the U.N. Security Council resolutions as it relates to missile testing? Absolutely nothing," he said from the Senate floor last week.

Meanwhile, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who like Coons backed the nuclear agreement, suggested the tests were part of a poltiical back-and-forth within the Iranian government.

"It’s less a message to us than it’s a message from the hardliners to the reformers: hey, you think you’re going to reform and get closer to the West? You still have to deal with the hardliners," he said at a Council on Foreign Relations event on Monday afternoon.