U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Iran’s launch of a military satellite may have defied U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 and that Tehran should be held “accountable.” UNSC Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution,” Pompeo told reporters, according to Reuters. “I don’t think it remotely is, and I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they have done,” he added.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced on Wednesday that it had put its first military satellite, called “Noor,” into orbit in a surprise launch.
The United States has called on Iran to refrain from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Along with European nations, America is concerned that Iran is using its space program as cover for its ballistic-missile program. Tehran denies the allegations.
Some argue, according to the Reuters report, that the 2015 U.N. resolution does not restrict work on ballistic missiles since it uses the language “called upon” when referring to Iran refraining from such work for up to eight years.
Tensions have been high between the United States and Iran of late, with U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting, also on Wednesday, that he has instructed the U.S. Navy “to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
The announcement came a week after the U.S. military said that 11 vessels belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had conducted “dangerous and harassing approaches” towards a fleet of U.S. ships in the northern Persian Gulf near Bahrain.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist told reporters at the Pentagon that “the President issued an important warning to the Iranians, what he was emphasizing is all of our ships retain the right of self-defense.”