By Louis Charbonneau
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reacted to Iran's recent ballistic missile tests by urging Tehran to act with moderation and restraint and to avoid increasing regional tensions.
"In the current political atmosphere in the Middle East region, and so soon after the positive news of the lifting of sanctions against Iran, the secretary-general calls ... Iran to act with moderation, caution and the good sense not to increase tensions through hasty actions," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
A series of missile tests this week conducted by Iran's Revolutionary Guard units drew international concern.
The United States, France and other countries said that, if confirmed, launches of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would be a violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Dujarric noted that it was up to the 15-nation council to examine issues related to resolution 2231, which calls upon 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".
The United States has said Iran's missile tests do not violate the terms of an historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, which resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015, endorsed.
The UN missile restrictions and an arms embargo on Iran are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.
Council diplomats say they will first await confirmation from national intelligence agencies about whether the missiles Iran fired were nuclear-capable.
They also say that Russia and China, which opposed the continuation of restrictions on Iran's missile program, would likely block council action.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said that the tests were not in violation of the nuclear agreement, which led to lifting of sanctions in January.