December 14, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post

EU Parliament Calls On Tehran to End Ballistic Missile Program

The European Parliament, representing 28 member states, on Wednesday urged Tehran not to engage in nuclear missile-related activity that violates Security Council Resolution 2231.

The EU statement on Wednesday stressed “the security risk posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program and underlines the need for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015), which calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, said that “though we would have preferred an even stronger condemnation, identifying Iran’s ballistic missile program as a ‘security risk’ marks a significant step by the European Parliament.

“Perhaps it was the regime’s warning last week” that its missiles could reach Europe “that has restored on the continent a much-needed sense of urgency about the real threat Iran poses to our collective security. Lawmakers are also right to call for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. However, the Iranian regime has shown time and again that only tough sanctions, backed up by a unified transatlantic front, will bring it to the negotiating table,” Schwammenthal said.

The Jerusalem Post reported in October that German security officials said that Iran’s regime is working on a missile program designed to be able to deliver nuclear warheads. According to German intelligence reports obtained by the Post, Tehran made nearly 40 attempts to obtain nuclear and missile technology in the Federal Republic in 2016.

The EU statement said that it “notes that the US Treasury Department has officially updated its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) counterterrorism list to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).”

The EU has declined to sanction the IRGC for terrorism.

Schwammenthal said: “In carefully crafted language, Parliament seems to reference the US State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, which crucially includes both Iran and Syria. The report calls on the EU to ‘counter and condemn state sponsors of radicalization and terrorism, particularly where such support is given to entities listed by the EU as terror organizations.”’

He continued, “Without explicitly mentioning Iran or Hezbollah by name, the European Parliament has nevertheless clearly set its sights on the Iranian regime and its sponsorship of the Shi’ite terror group based in Lebanon, and ought to be commended for that. We hope EU foreign ministers pay attention to this report and will, as a next step, do away with the artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s so-called ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings by designating Hezbollah in its entirety a terrorist organization.”

The EU outlawed Hezbollah’s so-called military wing in 2013 but permitted its political operation to function in Europe. The EU along with the US and Israel accused Hezbollah of blowing up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2013, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver, and wounding 32 other Israelis.

Bulgaria’s specialized criminal court is slated to proceed with the trial against two Hezbollah operatives in absentia in Sofia next week.

The EU Parliament also addressed the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, calling for “the continued successful implementation by all parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed by the EU3 +3 with Iran; stresses that the continued full implementation of this agreement by all parties is key to global efforts on nonproliferation and conflict resolution in the Middle East; [and] highlights that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement that was endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution and cannot be changed unilaterally.”

The Trump administration de-certified the Iran nuclear agreement, in October because of Iranian terrorism, the deal not serving US national security interests, and significant deficiencies in the agreement.

The US government and Congress are seeking to amend the agreement to ensure that Tehran cannot build nuclear weapons and to stop Iran’s aggression and ballistic missile program.

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD.