Iran’s complaint over Israel’s recent missile test exposes how the West applies a double standard when it comes to Israel’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile.
According to the i24News report, Israel’s missile propulsion system, known as Jerricho ballistic missile system, has a range of 2,000 kilometers. The Jewish state developed such a weapon with the US assistance, which can be accompanied by a sizeable warhead.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense did not elaborate on the detail of the testing and the information on the location of the missile launch. However, Tehran assumed that the missile launched from the airbase in Pamachim, in the south of Tel Aviv, based on a video and a picture circulating on social media channels.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif denounced the missile testing, adding that such a provocative activity was aimed at destroying Iran.
“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran. E3 & US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia – armed with missiles DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes – but has fits of apoplexy over our conventional & defensive ones,” the Iranian diplomat tweeted.
Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran.
E3 & US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia—armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes—but has fits of apoplexy over our conventional & defensive ones. https://t.co/r4EqXkhcCN
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 6, 2019
Germany, France, and the UK responded to Iran’s complain by sending a letter to the UN stating that Iran was “developing nuclear-capable missiles,” which is in breach of the UN Security Resolution on a nuclear deal.
The Security Council Resolution 2231 calls on Iran to refrain from undertaking “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
Iran has been under criticism for reducing its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or known as the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015 following Washington’s exit from the treaty. Last year, the U.S. withdrew from the deal, claiming the JCPOA was not adequate in pushing Iran to halt its nuclear weapons despite the compliance report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran threatened to enrich its uranium level above 3.67 per cent as allowed in the JCPOA, far from 90 per cent used for developing nuclear weapons. Tehran blamed European countries for failing to save the deal despite the efforts from some of the European nations to help Tehran to bypass the U.S-imposed sanction.
The UN resolution does not ban Iran’s missile program
In December 2018, the UN Security Council held a meeting to discuss Iran’s missile program at the requests from the UK and France. Despite the failure to produce a consensus, Western diplomats insisted that Iran’s missile program violated the resolution 2231.
Iran’s geopolitical position makes it vulnerable to the attack from the world’s superpower. Therefore, the presence of a missile for the country’s security is vital.
“Iran has always been a country subject to aggression. Various powers have always done their best to use Iran as their play court in a war of interests. We can look back to the Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan’s invasions of Iran centuries ago to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s war against the country in the new era. We also remember Iran being the “bridge of victory” for the Allied Powers in WWII despite Tehran’s declaration of neutrality. All these events showed that Iran has a special geopolitical position that necessitates a high-level defense power. This is not peculiar to the post-Revolution Iran. Shah of Iran also tried to equip the navy with warships to secure the country’s superiority in the sea,” Iranian professor Mehdi Motaharnia told Alwaght.
Zarif tweeted that US envoy to Iran Brian Hook had admitted that the resolution does not ban Iran’s missile program.
“Brian Hook has given our E3 JCPOA partners a timely reminder, openly admitting that missile testing is not prohibited in the Security Council’s Resolution 2231,” the veteran diplomat wrote as Tehran Times quoted.
The West’s double standard for Iran
In July 2018, the Germany Security Agency released a report accusing Iran of acquiring goods and technology used for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles, raising concern over the violation of the 2015 JCPOA.
As Fox News reported, the file stated that Tehran had “made 32 procurement attempts… that definitely or with high likelihood were undertaken for the benefit of proliferation programs.”
However, France and the UK secretly helped Israel to acquire atomic bombs in the 1950s and 1960s. Europeans also voted to block calls for Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which would give access to the IAEA inspectors to each member’s nuclear facility.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell revealed that Israel had 200 nuclear bombs aimed at Iran in his leaked email. Powell also praised the JCPOA, saying the treaty benefited both Iran and the US
It’s a pretty good deal,” the former general told NBC.
Marc Finaud, a senior member of Geneva Centre for Security Policy, highlighted the weakness of the international arms control framework on a missile, as it only has the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and The Hague Code of Conduct, which are a voluntary set of procedures.
In April 1987, industrialized nations grouped in G7 (the UK the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan) set up the MTCR. It is a non-formal, voluntary membership involving 35 countries, aimed at containing missile technology proliferation, restricting missile system production, drone, and all technologies related that can carry missile weighing 500 kilograms and with a range of 300 kilometers. Despite being the treaty’s non-signatories, China has expressed its commitment to maintaining principles and rules in the MTCR.
However, the West adopts a double standard when it comes to rules on missile technology. For example, the purchase of China’s Dongfeng-21 missile by Saudi Arabia in 2007. Washington gave the green light after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had carefully studied that missile, saying that the China-made weapon was not capable of carrying out nuclear warheads as Newsweek reported.
“It is indeed regrettable that the international arms control framework on missiles is very weak: it only consists of the MTCR export control regime and The Hague Code of Conduct, a voluntary set of transparency- and confidence-building measures. In the case of the Middle East, means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction are part of the mandate of a WMD-free Zone, but discussions of this project have not made much progress so far,” the expert argued.
Regional framework is necessary
Iran’s missile program started when Iraq launched missiles as Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, triggered by border issues. While Israel and Egypt were the first nations to develop their ballistic missile.
Several countries in the Middle East possess long-range ballistic due to the threat perceptions fueled by other countries’ arms build-up, said “Indeed, in the Middle East, several countries have wide-ranging missile capabilities that are the result of threat perceptions often fueled by the others’ arms build-ups. This is why the only effective way of dealing with that issue is a regional framework. With other experts, my organization has made proposals for a series of measures (such as limits on range and payload and ban on transfers) that could be adopted by the key regional states as one of the first steps towards the establishment of a WMD-free zone,” Finaud spoke to Javar Heierannia of Mehrnews