Oct. 21, 2015
It hasn’t violated the nuclear deal, just a UN Security Council resolution.
On October 11, the Islamic Republic tested a “precision-guided ballistic missile capable of delivering a 1,600-pound warhead to Israel, or even southeastern Europe, and designed to evade missile-defense systems”—in violation of a 2010 UN Security Council resolution. In response, the White House press secretary scrambled to explain why the test shouldn’t raise any concerns that Iran will also violate the nuclear deal itself. Michael Makovsky writes:
[T]he legal status of Iran’s missile launch is unimportant to the administration. There is no lesson to be learned here, no reason to worry, and no illustration of Iran’s attitude toward international agreements. . . . Iranian cheating in one area, we are to believe, should not be taken to mean that Iran will cheat elsewhere, too. Cheating is not, we are to believe, a general characteristic of a vicious, authoritarian regime with nothing but contempt and hostility for the West and its international legal institutions.
The fact is, [however], that the larger implications of the missile launch are staring us in the face. Indeed, what is most stunning about [the administration’s official reaction] is not the contention that Iran hasn’t cheated on its nuclear commitments but the implicit claim that Iran’s ballistic-missile program is unconnected to the nuclear deal. Iran could build and fire as many missiles as it wanted, and President Obama would be content to cherish the deal he achieved. And it is true the text of the deal contains no mention of ballistic missiles. . . .
Ballistic missiles are not some minor offshoot of a nuclear-weapons program. . . . What need has Iran of such lethal projectiles if it has no nuclear-weapons aspirations?