Pompeo warns of escalation risk as Iran conducts missile test

US Secretary of State says test is another violation of 2015 nuclear deal

Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, speaks to members of the media following a briefing on the murder of U.S-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. The briefing is happening ahead of a vote on a measure to invoke the War Powers Resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Iran on Saturday test-fired a missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"The Iranian regime has just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads. The missile has a range that allows it to strike parts of Europe and anywhere in the Middle East," Mr Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department.

The test violated UN Security Council resolution 2231, which "bans Iran from undertaking 'any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology',” Mr Pompeo said.

Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers under which Tehran would curb its nuclear enrichment programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions. The US pulled out of the deal in May this year, accusing Iran of violating the terms of the deal by continuing its missile development and of threatening regional stability.

"As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing. We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence. We condemn these activities, and call upon Iran to cease immediately all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons," Mr Pompeo said.

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November that target its oil exports, banking sector and access to US dollars. The European parties to the nuclear deal have refused to pull out and said they would seek ways to continue trade with Iran. However, there has been no progress so far.

On Tuesday, the head of Iran's atomic energy organisation warned the European Union that Tehran's patience was running out on the bloc's pledge to keep up oil trading despite US sanctions. He said Iran could resume enriching uranium to 20 per cent purity if it fails to see economic benefits from the 2015 deal.


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