UNITED NATIONS - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that Iran's ballistic missile activity has been growing instead of stopping, since the 2015 nuclear deal was agreed upon.
'Iran has exploited the goodwill of nations and defied multiple Security Council resolutions in its quest for a robust ballistic missile force,' Pompeo told the council at its semi-annual meeting to discuss the nuclear deal's implementation. 'The United States will never stand for this.'
He noted that Security Council resolution 2231, which enshrines the Iran deal in international law, 'calls upon' Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
'When we 'call upon' Iran to cease its ballistic missile activity, we agree it must stop now. But Iran is as defiant of the world's insistence as ever,' Pompeo said. 'Iran's pace of missile activity, including missile launches and tests, did not diminish since the JCPOA, in fact, Iran's missile testing and missile proliferation is growing,' he said, referring to the nuclear deal by its acronym.
He said the U.S. wants to work with the Security Council's other 14 members to reimpose tougher ballistic missile restrictions on Iran contained in earlier council resolutions, forbidding Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Under the 2015 deal, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany - agreed with Iran to remove economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear activities and allowing in international inspectors.
Iran has always declared that its nuclear program was for purely peaceful purposes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said repeatedly since the deal was implemented that Iran is upholding its commitments.
The United States, under the Trump administration, withdrew from the deal in May and unilaterally reimposed economic sanctions in November.
'The JCPOA, has, without a doubt, to date, shielded the Islamic Republic of Iran from accountability to the risks it presents to the world,' Pompeo said.
He alleged that Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East, with more than 10 ballistic missile systems in its inventory or in development. According to Iranian officials, some of their missiles can travel up to 2,000 kilometers - a distance, Pompeo said, which could put European allies in places like Athens, Sofia and Bucharest in harm's way.
Iran also has admitted test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Dec. 1. Many council members criticized the test as being 'inconsistent' with resolution 2231. The United States has said it is a violation.
There are further concerns about Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
'The council has to address these malign activities, it cannot reward Iran by lifting the arms embargo,' Pompeo said. Under the nuclear deal, that could happen in 2020. 'We also call on the council to establish inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran's continuing efforts to circumvent existing arms restrictions.'
The secretary said the U.S. has made clear the areas where it needs to see a 'fundamental strategic shift' from Tehran and if it genuinely materializes, then Washington is prepared to ease its pressure campaign and support Iran's reintegration into the international community.