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The Latest: Russian envoy knocks UN policy on Iran

December 12, 2018
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Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting on Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the U.N. Security Council session on Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador says “Iran is ready for a dialogue,” but the United States and other Security Council members appear to be more interested in further escalating what he calls “anti-Iran hysteria and to demonize Iran.”

Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council Wednesday that this “just exacerbates an already difficult situation in the Middle East.”

He said that “to lower the crisis, what we need to do is pool international and regional efforts.” He said one way to start is to hold a conference with countries in the region, and then broaden it to the entire Middle East.

Nebenzia said Iran is not banned from conducting ballistic missile launches and there is no proof that its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

He lashed out at the Trump administration, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listening, for abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and for “trying to punish all other member states” for implementing the agreement and the Security Council resolution endorsing it.

Nebenzia said, “It’s time to abandon unilateral actions,” and added, “History shows that they are doomed to failure.”

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2:10 p.m.

France’s U.N. ambassador says a long-term strategy in the Middle East cannot rest on “exerting pressures and sanctions” on Iran but must include “a firm and frank dialogue” with the Iranians on issues of growing concern, including their ballistic missile launches and destabilizing activities.

Francois Delattre told the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that dialogue is the only way the international community can lay the foundations for a new agreement with Iran on nuclear and missile activity as well as regional stability.

He stressed that “there is no other way to make sure there was lasting stability in the region or to attain the goal of Iran never obtaining nuclear weapons.”

Delattre’s comments appeared aimed at the Trump administration, which pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and has recently re-imposed sanctions it had lifted following the agreement.

The French ambassador also echoed the appeal launched by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to all countries to ensure the continuity of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “as a pillar of international peace and security.”

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1:25 p.m.

The U.N. political chief says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on Iran “to carefully consider and address” concerns raised by U.N. member states about its ballistic missile activities.

Rosemary DiCarlo told the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that Guterres welcomes the reaffirmation of support for the 2015 nuclear deal by the remaining participants following the U.S. withdrawal in May — Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and Iran.

She said “it is essential that the plan continues to work for all participants, including by delivering economic tangible benefits to the Iranian people.”

DiCarlo said the secretary-general regrets the Trump administration’s decision to re-impose sanctions against Iran that it lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal following its withdrawal from the agreement.

She said Guterres believes issues not directly related to the nuclear deal “should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments.”

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11:30 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is urging the U.N. Security Council to ban any Iranian activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and he’s accusing Tehran of building “a robust ballistic missile force” that threatens the Mideast and Europe.

Pompeo told the U.N.’s most powerful body Wednesday that Iran has built the largest ballistic missile force in the region and has more than 10 ballistic missile systems in its inventory or in development.

The Security Council banned nuclear-capable Iranian missiles from 2010 to 2015, but after the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, the council adopted a weaker provision that “calls upon” Iran not to undertake such activity.

Pompeo said that regardless of the changed language, the world “must agree to stop it now.”

He also urged the council not to lift an arms embargo on Iran in 2020 and to inspect ships in ports and stop them on the high seas to prevent Iran from circumventing existing arms restrictions.

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