December 18, 2015

Kaine Joins 20 Democratic Senators To Express Profound Concern Over Second Iranian Ballistic Missile Test In Letter To President Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Coons, Gary Peters, Michael Bennet, Ron Wyden, Jeanne Shaheen, Debbie Stabenow, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, Ed Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bob Casey, Mark Warner, Cory Booker, Maria Cantwell, Martin Heinrich, Barbara Mikulski, and Jeff Merkley expressed profound concern in a letter to President Obama regarding a second ballistic missile test conducted by Iran on November 21st.  

In the letter, the Senators write: “We are deeply concerned by Iran’s continued violations of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1929 by testing a second ballistic missile on November 21, 2015…If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.” 

The letter sent to President Obama today by the 21 U.S. Senators appears below.

Dear Mr. President:

We are deeply concerned by Iran’s continued violations of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1929 by testing a second ballistic missile on November 21, 2015.  Once again, the international community has an opportunity to demonstrate its resolve in the face of Iranian violations of its international obligations.

On December 15, a panel of expert monitors working on behalf of the United Nations Security Council reported that, "On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that the Emad launch on October 10th is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council Resolution 1929."  Unfortunately, some members of the UN Security Council failed to condemn this violation and failed to take steps collectively to enforce Resolution 1929.  If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231. 

The November test is Iran’s second recent violation of UNSCR 1929, which clearly states “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”  Clearly, the Security Council should take appropriate enforcement action against Iran in the face of this violation. On this matter, we recognize and appreciate United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s ongoing efforts to build support to enforce consequences for the October 10 ballistic missile test by referring the issue to the Iran Sanctions Committee and advocating for a forceful response by the UN Security Council. However, in the time it took the Panel of Experts to make a determination on the first violation, Iran tested another ballistic missile.

In the absence of a UN Security Council commitment to enforcing UNSCR 1929, we request that you take action unilaterally, or in coordination with our European allies.  Such action is essential to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the JCPOA to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism and human rights.

Sincerely,

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Senator Charles E. Schumer
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Christopher Coons
Senator Gary Peters
Senator Michael F. Bennet
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Edward J. Markey
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Mark R. Warner
Senator Cory A. Booker
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Martin Heinrich
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Senator Jeff Merkley

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