08:07 GMT07 May 2021
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    Iran's foreign minister has responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's warning that Iran would face severe economic and diplomatic consequences if it went ahead with plans to engage in further ballistic missile testing.

    Iranian plans to launch space vehicles and to continue missile testing are not in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear program, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has tweeted.

    According to the foreign minister, Washington was the side that was "in material breach" of the Security Council resolution, and as such was "in no position to lecture anyone on it." 

    Zarif also recalled that Security Council Resolution 1929, which introduced sanctions against Iran in 2010 after accusing the country of failing to comply with earlier resolutions concerning its nuclear program, was "dead," and that UNSCR 2231 calls on Iran not to engage in the testing of missiles "designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons," but does not prohibit it from missile testing entirely.

    Earlier Thursday, Mike Pompeo urged Tehran not to engage in "provocative launches" of its space vehicles, and called on the country to "cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation." The US secretary of state accused Iran of "defying" UNSCR 2231, and claimed that the launches have a "destabilizing effect" on the Middle East and beyond.

    Iran has repeatedly vowed that it would continue its missile testing in a bid to ensure its security from foreign aggression, but has also promised never to create nuclear-capable missiles.

    The exchange of hostilities between Zarif and Pompeo are just the latest in a long-running debate between the two top diplomats. Last month, Zarif charged that the US had "surrealism" as its "modus operandi in…foreign affairs," saying the US violated UNSCR 2231 itself while threatening "to punish those who don't wish to violate it…with illegal US sanctions."

    Washington withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and introduced a series of tough sanctions against Tehran, prompting the deal's other signatories, including Russia, China and several European powers, to scramble to save the landmark nuclear agreement.


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