Follow-on Report (31 Jan 17) – A Canadian political science student known to have nationalist sympathies was charged on the 31 Jan 17 with six counts of murder over a shooting spree at a Quebec mosque one of the worst attacks ever to target Muslims in a western country. Alexandre Bissonnette, who made a brief court appearance after surrendering to authorities, was charged with six counts of premeditated murder and five of attempted murder, police said. More indictments are expected later, police added. "There are search warrants underway," a spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told a press conference. "We hope to obtain the evidence to reach the point where we will be able to lay terrorism and national security charges," she said. So far, authorities have shed no light on what may have prompted the attack. Local media said Bissonnette is a Quebec nationalist and anti-feminist who recently "liked" US President Donald Trump's page on Facebook. He also has reportedly expressed support for French far-right politician Marine Le Pen. Both police and witnesses had initially described two masked men opening fire inside the mosque, where worshippers were gathered for evening prayer. But authorities said on the 31 Jan 17 that a second person detained had only been questioned as a witness. Explaining how one suspect was eventually let go, the RCMP said: "This morning and last evening we had reason to believe that two individuals should be arrested, that two people had participated." After investigating, they said: "we reached the conclusion that we should focus on one single suspect. And there was no reason to believe that the other individual had participated." The dead are all dual Canadian nationals: one Moroccan, two Algerians, one Tunisian and two Guineans. Bissonnette, who is a student at Laval University, surrendered 20 kilometres (12 miles) outside the city after calling an emergency services hotline an hour after the attack to reveal his location. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the nation's security threat level remained at medium requiring security forces to be on guard but having no specific information about an imminent threat. It was raised to this level in Oct 14 after a lone gunman attacked parliament. 361 COMMENT: Although there is no mention that Bissonnette shouted Allahu Akbar in the follow-up report he may have done so. Why? If he is a nationalist he probably shouted the words because that is what Muslim extremist shout when carrying out acts of terror on western targets. COMMENT ENDS
Peru/Hezbollah – A successful conviction in the ongoing trial of a suspected Hezbollah operative in Peru could help authorities “unravel the network of operatives and supporters that Hezbollah has erected throughout the country,” an expert on international terrorism wrote in Foreign Affairs on the 25 Jan 17. Mohammad Hamdar was detained in Lima in the fall of 2014 and tested positive for traces of nitroglycerin, an ingredient commonly used in the production of explosives. Upon his arrest, Hamdar admitted that he was a member of Hezbollah and that he’d been tasked with performing surveillance in the country. Authorities believe he may have been seeking soft targets for a terrorist attack, possibly during the U.N. Climate Change Summit in Dec 14. Hamdar was charged with using a fraudulent Sierra Leonean passport and conspiracy to commit terrorism. Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote that his case “could supply a powerful precedent that could help spur an expansion of national counterterrorism legislation in Peru and provide a model for other countries in the region in their own dealings with Hezbollah, its chief sponsor Iran, and other radical actors.” Berman observed that Hezbollah and other terrorist groups regard South America as a friendly operating environment due to widespread corruption and the presence of friendly regimes. Arguably, the most prominent of these is the terrorist powerhouse, Hezbollah, which has maintained an active presence in South America. It has done so since the 1980s, when, with Iran’s assistance, it established a beachhead in the Tri-Border Region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay intersect. Since then, Hezbollah has succeeded in building an extensive network of operations in the Americas—encompassing a wide range of illicit activities and criminal enterprises, from drug trafficking to recruitment to fundraising to militant training. Over time, Hezbollah has been joined by other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda and even the Islamic State (ISIS), in what has become an increasingly active terrorist milieu. Last month, a study by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies, a division of Spain’s Defence Ministry, officially confirmed what regional observers have long noted—namely that “Latin America represents an important region for Islamic radicalism because conditions enable the free, almost undetectable, movement of their members throughout the region.” In addition, most South American countries have no legal framework for outlawing terrorist activities, and Peru is no exception. However, if the prosecution is able to obtain a guilty verdict in Hamdar’s case, “it would be tantamount to a criminalization of Hamdar’s membership in Hezbollah—a milestone in a region that currently lacks any such legal precedent,” Berman argued. It would also signal to Hezbollah that “Latin America can no longer be considered cost-free.” Two years ago this week, Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head just hours before he was set to testify about then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s role in conspiring with Iran to cover up its role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Over the course of his investigation, Nisman compiled a 500-page indictment detailing Iran’s extensive terrorist network in Argentina and South America. In December, a new Argentinean prosecutor took over Nisman’s case, which has been dormant since his death. This means, according to Toby Dershowitz, vice president for government relations and strategy at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, that despite clear obstacles going forward, “those who engaged in an effort to cover up the role of the Iranian perpetrators of the AMIA bombing will hopefully no longer be able to hide from scrutiny.” The news from South America regarding Iran’s terror network isn’t all good. Recently, embattled Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro appointed Tareck El Aissami to be his vice president. Joseph Humire, the founder of the Centre for a Secure Free Society think tank, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2015 that El Aissami “developed a sophisticated, multi-layered financial network that functions as a criminal-terrorist pipeline bringing militant Islamists into Venezuela and surrounding countries, and send[s] illicit funds and drugs from Latin America to the Middle East.” However, successful prosecutions in Peru and Argentina could expose and set back Iran’s activities in the Western hemisphere.
This article is published courtesy of The Tower
United States/Florida Airport Shooting – A US judge on the 17 Jan 17 ordered the Iraq war vet accused of shooting five people dead in a Florida airport be held without bail as his court case proceeds. Esteban Santiago, who also wounded six people on his 6 Jan 17 shooting spree at the Fort Lauderdale airport, told investigators that he had been visiting "the dark web" to communicate with jihadists and members or sympathizers of the Islamic State group, the local Sun Sentinel newspaper reported. Santiago appeared handcuffed and wearing the red jumpsuit of a maximum security prisoner to answer questions Tuesday in the court of US judge Lurana Snow. The day of the incident the accused gunman had arrived in Fort Lauderdale -- a city some 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Miami -- on a one-way ticket from Alaska. Soon after landing around noon that day Santiago retrieved a 9mm handgun and ammunition that he had declared and packed in his checked luggage, then opened fire in Terminal 2 of the busy airport until he ran out of ammunition. Then he dropped to the ground and peacefully surrendered to a sheriff's deputy. Prosecutor Ricardo Del Toro told the judge that at various points Santiago "said he carried out the attack because of government mind control," the Sun-Sentinel reported. However "he later said he did so because of ISIL after participating in jihadi chat rooms." On the 7 Nov 16 the same month in which Santiago left his job with an Alaska security firm, Santiago walked into the FBI's Anchorage office complaining that his mind was being controlled by national intelligence agencies, which were forcing him to watch IS group videos, authorities said. This "erratic behaviour" led agents to contact local police, who took him for a mental health evaluation, FBI agent George Piro told reporters. Santiago will be formally charged with crimes - the most serious of which carries the death penalty - on January 30. Santiago was born in New Jersey and grew up in Puerto Rico. A former member of the Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guard, he served in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011 and ended his service in August. Currently Santiago is being held in solitary confinement under suicide watch at the main Broward County jail.
United States/Iran/Syria – Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late on the 17 Jan 17 that his government opposed the United States joining Syrian peace talks to be held in Kazakhstan during the week of 21 – 28 Jan 17 local media reported. "We are hostile to their presence and we have not invited them," Zarif said, according to the Tasnim news agency. That goes against the position of the other two organisers of the talks, Russia and Turkey, which have said the new US administration of Donald Trump should be represented in Astana on the 23 Jan 17. The negotiations mark the first time since the conflict began in 2011 that the US has not been at the centre of peace negotiations. "At this stage, we must keep the tripartite set-up. Any enlargement could increase the risk of failure. Our policy is to not add other countries at this stage," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on Wednesday. The talks came in the wake of President Bashar al-Assad's symbolic victory in Dec 16 in retaking Aleppo, Syria's second city and a key rebel stronghold through much of the war. Talks were ongoing between Iran, Russia and Turkey on who would attend, Ghasemi said, and other countries could be included in later stages after successful "first steps". "The meeting will not be at the ministerial level. It will probably be at the deputy minister level," he said. Ghasemi denied any major differences with Moscow over the involvement of Washington. Iran and Russia have been the key diplomatic and military backers of Syria in the war. "We have been working alongside each other for a long time, and have some strong convergences. There could at a certain stage, be some differences on certain subjects, but given the type of relations we have, we are sure to put ourselves in agreement through discussion," Ghasemi said.
United Nations/Iran/Arms Embargo – The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing US Ambassador Samantha Power said on the 19 Jan 17 amid UN concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Hezbollah. Most UN sanctions were lifted a year ago under a deal Iran made with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program. But Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement. In her last appearance at a public Security Council meeting before US President Barack Obama’s administration steps aside on the 20 Jan 17 Power said that recognizing “progress on Iran’s nuclear issues should not distract this council from Iran’s other actions that continue to destabilize the Middle East.” Under a Security Council resolution enshrining the 2015 deal, the UN secretary-general is required to report every six months on any violations of sanctions still in place. UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman briefed the 15-member council on the second UN report and said there had been no reports of nuclear-related or ballistic missile-related violations of the council resolution. However, the report expressed concern that Iran may have violated the resolution by supplying arms to Hezbollah. Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator said in 2015 that Tehran had no intention of complying with the arms embargo or ballistic missile restrictions. “We on the council need to come together to push Iran to effectively implement the binding provisions of resolution 2231 – especially restrictions that ban Iran’s export of arms and related material,” said Power. She did not specify how. The council could impose further sanctions over breaches of the arms embargo, but Russia and China - which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain – were unlikely to agree to such a move, diplomats said. US President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to scrap the nuclear agreement or seek a better deal. Trump’s nominee to replace Power, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, said it would be better to review the deal rather than withdraw from it. She also told lawmakers at her Senate confirmation hearing on the 19 Jan 17 that Iran should be held accountable for sanctions violations. She said: “Anytime that we put sanctions forward we should follow through on those when there are violations.”
United States/Iraq/Israel – Moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a declaration of war on Islam, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on the 24 Jan 17. "Transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem would be a public and more-explicit-than-ever declaration of war against Islam," he said in a statement. In a break with previous administrations, new US President Donald Trump has pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. Sadr, a firebrand Shiite cleric whose militia once fought US occupation forces in Iraq, called for the "formation of a special division to liberate Jerusalem were the decision to be implemented." Sadr said the Cairo-based Arab League as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the world's main pan-Islamic body, should take a decisive stand on the issue or dissolve themselves. The Najaf-based cleric also called "for the immediate closure of the US embassy in Iraq" should Washington go ahead with its promised embassy transfer in Israel. Sadr supporters protesting against the lack of services and widespread corruption in the Iraqi state stormed the so-called "Green Zone" in Baghdad twice last year. The protesters entered the parliament buildings and the prime minister's office but did not attempt anything against the US embassy there, which is Washington's largest foreign mission. The United States works with Iraq on a range of issues, notably with military backing for the Iraqi offensive to retake large parts of the country seized by the Islamic State group. The final status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel considers Jerusalem, including the eastern Palestinian sector it annexed in 1980, as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians want to make east Jerusalem the capital of their future state. The White House on the 22 Jan 17 appeared to play down suggestions that a move was imminent, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying: "We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject." 361 COMMENT: Once again we see the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr making threats regarding the United States. He is a Cleric and not an Ayatollah furthermore his influence has long finished. He may at one point been a huge threat but now is just a voice. He only sees what is in front of him and does not see anything on the peripheral. The Israelis, Americans and Palestinians are on the opposite side of the Arabian Peninsula. He should wait until his own house is in order before making threats regarding other states and countries. There is a greater problem with Israel approving 2, 500 settler homes on the 24 Jan 17 in the occupied West Bank than the relocation of an embassy but there is no mention of that. COMMENT ENDS
United States – Arriving at the Pentagon, Mr Trump took the seat behind the executive desk, and at 1642 hrs on the 27 Jan 17 and signed the document that was to prove the most explosive of his first week in office. The executive order suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and barred those fleeing the slaughter in Syria indefinitely. And it blocked entry into the United States for some three months for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. The order, which the White House described as strict new measures to prevent terror attacks on US soil, was to go into immediate effect. The broad principle had been a key part of Mr Trump's successful election campaign. It has appeared to catch the US establishment, the media and the wider world by surprise. It has been suggested that the new US Administration failed to seriously consult the department of homeland security, state department or the justice department, who would all be tasked with enacting the order. It has been claimed that the Trump administration had actually shielded the document from a formal review by National Security Council lawyers. John Kelly, the homeland security secretary, and other senior figures in the agency only saw the final details shortly before it was issued. On the night of the 27 Jan 17 the department of homeland security applied the restrictions to people from seven countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, but said it did not apply to those with lawful permanent residence in the US, known as green cards. But the president's inner circle, including Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, reportedly intervened overnight, and by the 28 Jan 17 the ruling had been extended to cover green card holders too. Confusion turned to panic as travellers were told they were unable to board flights to the United States. Some passengers checked in but were then barred from boarding at the gate. Others were hauled off planes. Others arrived at American airports only to be detained for hours. Some were refused access to legal assistance. Opponents of the executive orders accused the White House of implementing a "Muslim ban". Mr Trump on the 29 Jan 17 defended the action. But speaking on Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and an ally of Mr Trump sowed further confusion, affirming that the president had in fact hoped to implement a ban on people of the Muslim faith coming into the country. John Kelly, US homeland security secretary issued a statement Sunday, saying he deemed the entry of lawful permanent residents to be "in the national interest", and absent information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, residency would be a "dispositive factor in our case-by-case determination." The changes, said White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, are "a small price to pay" to keep the nation safe. The executive order draw sharp condemnation from foreign governments, including Turkey, who has borne the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis and Germany, who has so far accepted more than one million citizens from the war torn country. And on the 29 Jan 17 Republicans began to do the same. John McCain, the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential nominee, who is a leading voice in the party, condemned the action, as a move that would only help Da’esh in its propaganda. "Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism," he said.
Six other times the US has banned immigrants
Exclusion of the Chinese
President Chester A. Arthur.
Signed on May 6, 1882.
The Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned "skilled and unskilled labourers and Chinese employed in mining" from entering the US for 10 years, was the first significant law restricting immigration to the country. It came at a time when the US was struggling with high unemployment and, although Chinese made up a very small segment of the country's workforce, they were nevertheless scapegoated for its social and economic woes. The law also placed restrictions on Chinese who were already in the US, forcing them to obtain certificates in order to re-enter if they left the country and banning them from securing citizenship. The act expired in 1892 but was extended for a further 10 years in the form of another - the Geary Act. This placed additional restrictions on Chinese residents of the country, forcing them to register and to obtain a certificate of residence, without which they could be deported. This changed in 1943 with the Magnuson Act - which allowed some Chinese immigration and for some Chinese already residing in the country to become naturalised citizens, but which maintained the ban on property and business ownership. This came at a time when China was a US ally during World War II.
Jewish refugees during World War II
President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
As millions of people became refugees during World War II, US President Franklin D Roosevelt argued that refugees posed a serious threat to the country's national security. Drawing on fears that Nazi spies could be hiding among them, the country limited the number of German Jews who could be admitted to 26,000 annually. And it is estimated that for most of the Hitler era, less than 25 percent of that quota was actually filled. In one of the most notorious cases, the US turned away the St Louis ocean liner, which was carrying 937 passengers, almost all of whom are thought to have been Jewish, in June 1939. The ship was forced to return to Europe, where more than a quarter of its passengers are thought to have been killed in the Holocaust.
President Theodore Roosevelt.
Signed on March 3, 1903.
In 1903, the Anarchist Exclusion Act banned anarchists and others deemed to be political extremists from entering the US. In 1901, President William McKinley had been fatally shot by Leon Czolgosz, an American anarchist who was the son of Polish immigrants. The act - which was also known as the Immigration Act of 1903 - codified previous immigration law and, in addition to anarchists, added three other new classes of people who would be banned from entry: those with epilepsy, beggars and importers of prostitutes. The act marked the first time that individuals were banned for their political beliefs.
Passed by Congress on August 23, 1950, despite being vetoed by President Harry Truman.
The Internal Security Act of 1950 - also known as the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 or the McCarran Act - made it possible to deport any immigrants believed to be members of the Communist Party. Members of communist organisations, which were required to register, were also not allowed to become citizens. Truman opposed the law, stating that it "would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights". Sections of the act were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1993. But some parts of the act still stand.
President Jimmy Carter, April 7, 1980.
Following the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, during which the US embassy in Tehran was stormed and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, American President Jimmy Carter cut diplomatic relations with and imposed sanctions on Iran. He also banned Iranians from entering the country.
Ban on HIV positive persons
Under President Ronald Reagan, the US Public Health Service added Aids to its list of "dangerous and contagious" diseases. Senator Jesse Helms' "Helms Amendment" added HIV to the exclusion list. In 1987, the US banned HIV positive persons from arriving in the US. The laws were influenced by homophobic and xenophobic sentiment towards Africans and minorities at the time, as well as a false belief that the HIV virus could be spread by physical or respiratory contact. Former US President Barack Obama lifted it in 2009, completing a process begun by President George W Bush.
United States/Iran and the Travel ban – Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said US President Donald Trump's decision to ban arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries was "a great gift to extremists", as Tehran takes retaliatory action on US passport holders. "Collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks, Zarif posted on Twitter early on the 29 Jan 17. Zarif's statement followed an announcement that Iran is taking "reciprocal measures", deferring the issuance of visas to US passport holders. He said the Trump's decision "shows baselessness of the US claims of friendship with the Iranian people". Zarif wrote that Tehran's decision to ban entry of Americans "is not retroactive", and that all visitors "with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed". The visa suspension stands until the US government removes its own restrictions on Iranian nationals, he said, adding that it is trying to differentiate the American people "and the hostile policies of the US government". Iranians make up 45 percent of all US visa holders coming from the seven countries covered in the ban. More than a million Iranians live in the United States.
Six of the seven countries on Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban' list also bar visitors based on nationality (31 Jan 17)
Six nations listed on Trump’s controversial executive order, which prohibits citizens of seven countries from visiting the US, also impose travel bans of their own. According to information supplied by IATA, the International Air Transport Association, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Libya all forbid Israeli passport holders from entering their countries, along with 10 other nations: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, eight of those counties – Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Libya – do not accept passports that contain Israeli visas. Libya also enforces a separate ban on Iranian, Syrian and Palestinian visitors. Somalia is the only nation on President Trump’s list that does not prohibit Israeli visitors, though Israelis are banned by their own government from travelling to the East African nation; along with Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Israel also imposes travel restrictions on Palestinians in the Jewish state. Dozens of Israeli protesters amassed outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on the 29 Jan 17 to rally against Trump’s order and the policies of their own government. The protest was organised by the campaign group Right Now: Advocates for African Asylum Seekers in Israel. “We felt we needed to be doing something here to protest both the policies that have been going on in the United States and the policies going on in Israel for years,” the group’s co-founder, Elliot Glassenberg, told The Jerusalem Post. “We believe that only by taking a global approach can we truly address the global refugee crisis.” Donald Trump said there was a precedent for his executive order, claiming Obama temporarily stopped processing Iraqi refugees in 2011. According to the Washington Post the then-president enforced a more stringent screening process, but never imposed a ban. Enhanced screening came into force after the FBI arrested two Iraqi asylum seekers on terrorism charges in Kentucky. In reality, there is no precedent for Trump’s executive order, which has caused confusion as well as controversy; chiefly around the subject of why, if this has been done in the interests of national security, countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Colombia and Venezuela have been left off the list, given the US regards them as safe havens for terrorists.
361 COMMENT: Taking the Iranian Foreign Ministers comment first, it seems strange to say that “baselessness of the US claims of friendship with the Iranian people" when Iran is still chanting anti-US demonstrations with no show of stopping even though many restrictions and lifted numerous sanctions against the regime. The fact that they are reciprocating will not prove to be anything more than wind, but travelling to Iran at this moment in time would need to be thought out carefully. The countries where the ban is in place have produced and harboured numerous terrorists that have committed attacks on western targets and westerners. The comment regarding "a great gift to extremists" and with John McCain’s comment, is a move that would only help Da’esh in its propaganda and other extremist groups. "Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism," he said. These comments may prove to be correct! In the past Muslim extremists have used those held in Guantanamo Bay as a platform to conduct terrorism they now have a new drum to beat. It is more than possible and feasible that terrorists from some of the countries that are affected by the travel ban will carry out terrorist atrocities for the same reason. It must be pointed out though that most of the world knows this is not a “Muslim ban” which is what the new American Administration spoke about in their build-up to the American election, but the words will have the same effect that George W Bush stated in a speech about a “Crusade” which was quickly picked up on by Muslim extremists, these words may have the same effect. Although the Americans have placed bans in the past the world is somewhat different now and especially with terrorism and the social media network that is in place. Propaganda will now start with a new headline. COMMENT ENDS
United States/Iran – Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the 31 Jan 17 warned the United States against "creating new tensions" with Tehran over ballistic missile tests. "We hope that Iran's defence programme is not used by the new US administration as a pretext to create new tensions," Zarif said in a televised press conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault. The UN Security Council is due to hold emergency talks called by Washington on the 31 Jan 17 on Iran's recent test-firing of a medium-range missile, which Tehran has not confirmed. Zarif said Washington, under former president Barack Obama, and Paris had "repeatedly confirmed" that Iran's missiles are not part of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers. Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads. "We have always declared that we will never use our weapons against others except in our defence," Zarif said. Ayrault said France had expressed its concerns over the missile tests. "France has expressed its concern at Iran's continuation of its ballistic missile tests on several occasions," he said. He said the continued tests are "contrary to the spirit" of the Security Council resolution which enshrined a landmark July 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, and "hamper the process of restoring the confidence established by the Vienna agreement."