Last year, a nuclear agreement was established between Iran and the United States. The agreement essentially stated that tough sanctions would be lifted off Iran in exchange for the country’s word to end its nuclear weapon development. Since the deal was passed the seas have been quiet but recently, things changed.
In clear violation of the nuclear deal, Iran held multiple ballistic missile tests. This particular offense violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2331, which states that Iran is “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
Iranian officials have responded by saying that they will not cease these missile tests since it was not actually a violation of the agreement. According to Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who is in charge of the country’s missile program, these missiles were tested for defensive purposes and the country will not stop this activity due to the fact that they are “always ready to defend the country against any aggressor.” Iranian Foreign Ministry officials have also spoken on the matter saying that since these missiles are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the tests are not considered a violation worth of sanctions.
Here are the issues: A nuclear capable missile has been defined as any missile with a payload over 500 kilograms and a range of 300 kilometers. The missiles surpass normal range and weight that is considered internationally acceptable to be considered a nuclear capable missile, even though, according to Iranian officials, these missiles may not have been designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Some of the missiles tested by Iran carried 24 warheads and one ton of TNT, which would completely obliterate Israel.
Not only this, but to reiterate the actual threat, on the sides of the missiles, “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” was written. In fact, The Iranian Revolutionary guard’s senior commander was quoted as saying that these missiles were designed to strike Israel. This new turn of events has prompted Israel to step up and call for consequences against Iran’s violations, and rightfully so. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released a statement calling for the UN to take “immediate punitive steps following the repeated gross transgressions by Iran in the matter of rockets.” Israel’s’ Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has also come to the UN Security Council encouraging them to condemn Iran’s recent behavior. He also pointed out that the tests are a violation of the UN resolution 2331. This would be an outrageous violation and should not be overlooked, as it is a clear breach of the agreement.
The phrase “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” is a direct existential threat to Israel and its people. This is not a defensive remark on the part of Iran. On the contrary it shows that they in fact desire an offensive stance against Israel. These type of long range missiles have the capability to cover all of Israel’s territory, proving to be a very real threat to the country’s existence in the Middle East. Israel is an important ally to the United States and this existential threat must be taken seriously.
The UN Security Council will be holding a closed door meeting to discuss this issue. According to Samantha Power, The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, the United States will hold said meeting and is encouraging other countries to cooperate in efforts to undermine Iran’s missile program that could be detrimental. These violations cannot occur. Existential threats to the lives of millions of people, and an entire state that is an ally to the United States, must be addressed immediately to avoid an enormous tragedy from taking place.