UN experts say Iran missile firing violated UN sanctions

By EDITH M. LEDERER ,

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(Photo: UNCREDITED)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's firing of a medium-range ballistic missile in October violated U.N. sanctions banning the Islamic Republic from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons, U.N. experts said in a new report.

The report submitted to the U.N. Security Council and seen by The Associated Press on Tuesday said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a June 2010 resolution.

The Oct. 10 launch was the first test of a ballistic surface-to-surface missile after Iran and six world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal on July 14. The Security Council endorsed the deal in a resolution on July 20 that also called on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.

The report said the missile had a range of at least 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and up to 1,300 kilometers, and a payload of at least 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) and up to 1,400 kilograms (3,086 pounds).

But the panel said a missile with a range of at least 300 kilometers (186 miles) and a payload of at least 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) — far smaller than the one launched on Oct. 10 — is considered by expert guidelines to be capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The United States, France, Britain and Germany asked the Security Council on Oct. 21 to investigate and take "appropriate action" against Iran for the Oct. 10 missile launch.

The Dec. 11 report by experts from the council committee monitoring sanctions against Iran supports the contention of the four countries that the firing violated U.N. sanctions.

Whether the Security Council takes any action remains to be seen.

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