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U.S. Urges New UN Sanctions On Iran For Missile, Satellite Launches

A photo released by Iranian news agencies show Iran's satellite launch, which ended in failure.

The United States has urged the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its recent ballistic-missile test and launches of two satellites, saying they violate the world body's resolutions.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen on March 7 condemned "Iran's destabilizing activities" in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and called on Tehran "to cease immediately all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons."

The statement cited a 2015 UN resolution that "called upon" Iran to refrain for up to eight years from tests of ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

The resolution was tied to a landmark nuclear deal that Tehran signed that same year with the United States and five other world powers that provided Iran with sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

U.S. President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the nuclear deal and reimposed U.S. sanction on Iran.

Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia have remained a part of the nuclear deal, and Tehran has so far said it is honoring the terms of the deal.

Cohen's letter to the Security Council said that Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile on December 1, 2018, and attempted to place satellites in orbit on January 15 and February 5 of this year.

Both of the satellite launches ended in failure and did not reach orbit.

"Iran has carried out these three launches in defiance of the expressed will of the UN Security Council, and such provocations continue to destabilize the entire Middle East region," Cohen wrote.

He called on the council to "join us in imposing real consequences on Iran for its flagrant defiance of the council's demands and bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran's missile program."

Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran's UN mission, denied that Tehran had any ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons -- "therefore none of the ballistic-missile launches of Iran are covered by that resolution."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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