Western efforts to stifle Iranian missile program won't work, Russian diplomat says

January 21, 2020 - 14:53

Western attempts to curb Iran’s ballistic missile development will fail, a senior Russian ambassador said amid U.S. claims that Tehran’s arsenal poses a threat, Washington Examiner reported.

“Attempts to impose from outside restrictions and prohibitions on national missile programs, like Western countries try to do with regard to Iran, have very little chance to succeed because they totally ignore regional context,” Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna, tweeted on Sunday.

Ulyanov maintained that “the only way to curb and limit missile proliferation” is to shift the negotiations away from the United Nations and other major international meetings, with a new emphasis on regional neighbors. 

Ulyanov maintained that such programs are not illegal, noting that the relevant UN Security Council resolution merely 'calls upon' countries not to develop ballistic missiles.

“‘Calls upon’ doesn’t mean ‘are obliged,’” he wrote. "Unfortunately there are no prohibitions or limitations on [missiles] in the world."

He made that comment while discussing a recent missile test by India, but the argument applies to Iran as well because the UN Security Council resolution governing the Iran deal also uses the "called upon" formulation.

“Personal view: The only way to curb and limit missile proliferation, as well as dangerous development of missile programs, is to intensify consideration of these topics in regional formats with a view to look for hypothetical arrangements freely arrived at by states concerned,” Ulyanov said before mentioning Iran.