Iran on Tuesday warned the United States against fuelling tensions over its ballistic missile tests as the UN Security Council prepared for urgent talks on the issue at Washington’s request.
The row comes against a backdrop of already-strained relations over US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.
The European Union, which helped broker a landmark nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, appealed to Tehran to refrain from activities such as the missile tests “which deepen mistrust”.
But the diplomatic push by the West quickly ran into trouble as Russia said a missile test would not breach a UN resolution on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Moscow, which is fighting alongside Tehran’s forces in Syria, said the demand for emergency talks at the Security Council was aimed at “heating up the situation”.
Diplomats said the Security Council talks on Iran would be held on Tuesday after a meeting on Syria.
Trump has sharply criticised the nuclear deal that led to a lifting of international sanctions against Iran, which used the occasion of a visit by France’s foreign minister to express its discontent with Washington.
“We hope that Iran’s defence programme is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a news conference with Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Tehran has neither confirmed nor denied firing any missiles at the weekend.
‘Head in the sand’
Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
“We have always declared that we will never use our weapons against others except in our defence,” Zarif added.
And he slammed the new US administration’s “shameful act of denying entry to people holding legal visas” for the United States.
Speaking at the same news conference, Ayrault said France had made clear its disquiet over the missile tests.
“France has expressed its concern at Iran’s continuation of its ballistic missile tests on several occasions,” he said.
He said the continued tests…