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21 Senate Dems to Obama: 'Take Action' Over Iran Missile Tests

(State Department photo)

Twenty-one Senate Democrats have asked President Obama to not ignore Iran’s second ballistic missile test, which was conducted last month.

“If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” the Dems note in the letter sent to the president today.

It was signed by Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin (D-Md.) as well as Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.),  Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Cardin and Schumer voted against the Iran nuclear deal.

“Once again, the international community has an opportunity to demonstrate its resolve in the face of Iranian violations of its international obligations,” they wrote of the Nov. 21 missile test.

“On December 15, a panel of expert monitors working on behalf of the United Nations Security Council reported that, ‘On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that the Emad launch on October 10th is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council Resolution 1929.’ Unfortunately, some members of the UN Security Council failed to condemn this violation and failed to take steps collectively to enforce Resolution 1929. If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” the letter continues.

“The November test is Iran’s second recent violation of UNSCR 1929, which clearly states ‘Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.’ Clearly, the Security Council should take appropriate enforcement action against Iran in the face of this violation. On this matter, we recognize and appreciate United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s ongoing efforts to build support to enforce consequences for the October 10 ballistic missile test by referring the issue to the Iran Sanctions Committee and advocating for a forceful response by the UN Security Council. However, in the time it took the Panel of Experts to make a determination on the first violation, Iran tested another ballistic missile.”

The Senate Democrats told Obama that “in the absence of a UN Security Council commitment to enforcing UNSCR 1929, we request that you take action unilaterally, or in coordination with our European allies.”

“Such action is essential to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the JCPOA to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism and human rights.”

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), another “no” vote on the Iran deal, told State Department officials that there’s “a very clear sense – and I hope I’m wrong – that what we have here is a permissive environment.”

“What we got really was a process in the JCPOA that gave Iran the easy out by really just simply answering questions as they wanted to without really fully coming clean,” Menendez said.

Menendez was told that the administration is “seriously considering” a response.