The United States vowed Monday to respond to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests, despite objections from Russia and Iran’s assertion it did not violate international law.
“These were designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha PowerSamantha PowerHow Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies Aid airlift underway to earthquake-striken Haiti With Haiti in chaos, we must rewrite the script on disaster aid MORE told reporters after a U.N. Security Council meeting. “This merits a council response.”
Iran conducted ballistic missiles tests two days in a row last week, drawing swift condemnation from the international community and U.S. lawmakers. On the second test, Iran reportedly fired missiles with the words "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth" written on them in Hebrew.
The tests reignited a debate among lawmakers about sanctions against Iran. Those in favor of sanctions say the tests were a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which was passed in July in support of the nuclear deal with Iran.
“Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” a section of the resolution reads.
Iran has said the missiles were not designed to carry a nuclear warhead, and so the tests didn’t violate the resolution.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin argued that Iran didn’t violate the U.N. resolution since it’s a “call” not a “ban.”
"A call is different from a ban, so legally you cannot violate a call. You can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call," Churkin said, according to Reuters. "The legal distinction is there."
Power told reporters that Russia, which has Security Council veto power, was hiding behind legalese.
“The council needs to take its responsibility, and Russia seems to be lawyering its way to look for reasons not to act rather than stepping up and being prepared to shoulder our collective responsibility,” she said. “So we’re not going to give up at the Security Council, no matter the quibbling that we heard today about this and that, and we also can consider, of course, our own appropriate national response.”