Washington: Iran appears to have violated the UN Security Council resolutions by conducting missile tests, the White House said on Tuesday but asserted that this was in contrast to Tehran's compliance with commitments made in the context of the nuclear talks.
"The missile tests that we did see over the weekend are -- we've got strong indications that those missile tests did violate UN Security Council resolutions that pertain to Iran's ballistic missile activities. Unfortunately, that's not new," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.
"We have seen Iran almost serially violate the international community's concerns about their ballistic missile programme, and the UN Security Council resolution actually gives the international community some tools to interdict some equipment and material that could be used to advance their ballistic missile programme and gives us the ability to work in concert with our partners around the world to engage a strategy to try to disrupt continued progress of their ballistic missile programme," he said.
But this is altogether separate from the nuclear agreement that Iran reached with the rest of the world, he stressed.
In contrast to the repeated violations of the UN Security Council resolution that pertains to their ballistic missile activities, the US and the international community has seen that Iran over the last couple of years has demonstrated a track record of abiding by the commitments that they made in the context of the nuclear talks, he noted.
"There was a lot of skepticism even two or three years ago in the early stages of the nuclear talks, many critics of the administration said that engaging in these kinds of talks would be counterproductive because there was no way that Iran would abide by the commitments that they made, and in fact, Iran had previously used the cover of talks to make progress on their nuclear programme," the White House official said.
"Over the last two or three years, we have seen Iran live up to some very tough standards when it comes to limiting their nuclear programme, and that said, we have been saying all along that the nuclear agreement that Iran reached with the rest of the world will not be predicated on trust, but it will be predicated on the most robust, intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country's nuclear programme," Earnest said.
Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement will be verified and if they do not comply, there is a very specified set of responses that can be implemented to respond to those violations, Earnest said.
"So that is the approach that we have taken thus far. It does hold the potential of us succeeding in expanding the breakout period for Iran, preventing them from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he argued.
"In fact, if Iran does verifiable uphold the terms of this agreement, it would do more to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon than even a military strike would. And that is why the president has pursued this course and it's one that we will seek to implement consistent with the agreement that was reached a couple of months ago," Earnest said.