US officials sharply condemned Iran on Tuesday as “provocative” and “irresponsible” after it conducted its first missile test since President Donald Trump took office.
A US defense official told CNN the medium-range missile was launched on Sunday, and that the test failed, posing no threat to the US or its allies in the region.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, had strong words for Iran following UN Security Council discussions on reports of Iran conducting a ballistic missile test.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Haley said. “We will act accordingly … we will be loud.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement Tuesday that the US is “well aware of and deeply troubled by Iran’s longstanding provocative and irresponsible activities.”
Toner added that Iran must fully implement UN resolution 2231, which is not part of the Iran nuclear deal but “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
The UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss the test, which the US said involved a ballistic missile.
“First of all, we need confirmation that the test has happened,” UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said before the meeting. “If that is the case – as it appears that it will be – then an investigation would be an appropriate next step.”
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the test but didn’t provide any details about whether the US would respond.
“We’re aware that Iran fired that missile. We’re looking into the exact nature of it,” Spicer said.
Iran on Tuesday suggested that President Donald Trump was trying to distract attention from the criticism of his recent executive order on travel to the US.
“It seems that under current circumstances, certain figures in the United States, with political and propaganda motivations, are seeking pretexts in order to ease the international pressure and criticism which they have faced due to imprudent decision over anti Muslim travel ban,” said a spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
The official said missile program is “solely for defensive purposes” and is not within the “sphere of resolution 2231” because its ballistic missiles are not designed with the capability to carry nuclear weapons.
Iran has tested several ballistic missiles since the agreement in 2015 between Iran and the US, along with several other countries, aimed at ensuring Iran’s nuclear program would be for only peaceful purposes.
In March 2016, Iran test fired two missiles with the words “Israel must be wiped off the Earth” written on them in Hebrew. That launch was condemned by the US.
CNN’s Richard Roth, Ryan Browne, Laura Koran and Josh Berlinger, Bijan Hosseini and Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Tehran