The United States and France accused Iran of violating a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal after it carried out a long-range ballistic missile test.
The Islamic Republic successfully test-launched a ballistic missile with a potential 2,000-kilometer range on May 25, state media reported, the latest in ballistic missile tests and satellite launches.
French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said in a daily briefing later in the day that such tests “are all the more worrying in the context of the continuing escalation of Iran's nuclear program."
"Iran's activities pose serious and increased non-proliferation risks without any credible civilian justification," she added.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that Iran’s “development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a serious threat to regional and international security.”
“Despite the restrictions on Iran’s missile-related activities under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran continues to seek a range of missile technologies from foreign suppliers and to conduct ballistic missile tests in defiance of the resolution,” Miller added.
“An Iran with a nuclear weapon would likely act even more provocatively, and that’s why we are so committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Iran has enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels but denies seeking nuclear weapons.
UN Security Council resolution 2231 calls on the country not to conduct “any activity” related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, but the language is ambiguous, leaving it open to interpretation.
Western powers are particularly concerned because the UN restrictions on missiles and related technologies last until October, after which Tehran is free to pursue its ballistic missile activity.
Iran’s missile test came 10 days before the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors meets in Vienna.
Ahead of March's board meeting, the UN atomic agency and Iran said they had agreed to make progress on a long-stalled IAEA inquiry into uranium particles found at three undeclared sites in Iran.
They also agreed to re-install surveillance cameras and other monitoring equipment at nuclear sites that were put in place under a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, but were removed last year as the deal unraveled following the US withdrawal in 2018.