The United Nations Security Council has met behind closed-doors to discuss Iran's latest missile test, which the United States and other allies said may have been in violation of a three-year-old council resolution.
Over the weekend, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and striking parts of Europe and the entire Middle East, a claim that was denied by Iranian officials.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he called Iran's testing of a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the 2015 global agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, from which Washington has withdrawn.
The meeting was held at the request of three Western powers involved in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal who say Tehran's ballistic missile launches are "inconsistent" with the council resolution that endorsed the agreement.
"Iran is one of the world's powers in this field and in addition to military and security use, including on the borders of the country, it has economic benefit and civilian use, such as explorations, discoveries and cloud fertility", he said.
In keeping with pre-established talking points, the U.S. used the meeting to describe the latest launch - one of approximately a dozen since the nuclear deal went into effect - as an outright violation of the Security Council resolution.
In this file picture taken on November 26, 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the UN Security Council during a UNSC meeting on Ukraine at the United Nations in NY, the United States.
Observers said that the move would irk the U.S, which views Tehran's weapons programme as a regional security threat.
Iran has test-fired a missile allegedly capable of hitting Europe.
In Paris, the French foreign ministry also condemned the Iranian missile test as "provocative and destabilizing", and noted that it was not in compliance with the United Nations resolution.
"Missile tests and the overall defensive capability of the Islamic Republic are for defense [purposes] and in line with our country's deterrence [policy]..." Still, Agence France Presse quoted British Ambassador Karen Pierce as saying that Iran's activities "go way beyond legitimate defensive needs", and Reuters credited France with objecting to the Iranian "frenzy" for missile development and stockpiling.
While the United States has withdrawn from the nuclear deal, Europe - including the UK and France - have remained committed to keeping the agreement alive.
Members of the UN Security Council have so far failed to reach consensus on whether Iran's missile test constituted a violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program. A key provision calls on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles created to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons" - but it does not explicitly demand that Tehran do so. Aziz Nasirzadeh, said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Pompeo lamented that conventional wisdom had concluded that "the more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are" and "the more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done".