Senator David Perdue Probes State Department Over Recent Iranian Missile Launches

State Department Official Says Launches Violate ‘Intent’ of U.N. Resolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today probed the State Department’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Ambassador Thomas Shannon about recent Iranian ballistic missile tests and whether these actions violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, the international resolution that codifies President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Perdue’s questions come days after Obama Administration officials failed to call Iran’s ballistic missile tests a violation to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

Click here to watch the exchange or click the image below.

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Senator Perdue: In December, Ambassador Mull, in this committee stated ballistic missile launches would directly be a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. We’ve seen those missile firings before and after implementation day, and yet this week American diplomats submitted a joint EU-US report that says that the launches, and I quote ‘are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231, but not a violation.’

Senator Perdue: For the record, do you think that ballistic missile launches were indeed a violation of U.N. [Security Council] Resolution 2231?

Under Secretary Shannon: From our point of view, U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits Iran from launching ballistic missiles. The language in 2231 is different from [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 1929. As you know, 1929 says Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. 2231 calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. In international parlance, there is a distinction here but for me it is a distinction without a difference.

Under Secretary Shannon: From my point of view, 2231 is telling Iran that it should not be undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles, and that’s how we act. In other words, we responded to the ballistic missile launches with designations, and we will continue to respond.

Senator Perdue: So we responded as if it were a violation?

Under Secretary Shannon: We did.

Senator Perdue: Ok. So you think it is a violation?

Under Secretary Shannon: Let me put it this way, I believe it violated the intent of 2231.

Under Secretary Shannon: Whether our international lawyers will say it violated 2231, this is why we use the word inconsistent. But from our point of view, these launches are prohibited, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop them.