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Iran Warns U.S. Not to Escalate Missile Dispute

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The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in Tehran on Tuesday.

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Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Already furious over the Trump administration’s visa ban, Iran warned the United States on Tuesday not to escalate tensions over tests of Iranian missiles.

The warning, made by Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, came a day after American and Israeli officials accused Iran of having conducted a missile test that they said had violated a United Nations Security Council resolution. The United States requested an urgent meeting of the Council for later Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Iran has not confirmed that it conducted a test. But Mr. Zarif, at a joint news conference in Tehran with his visiting counterpart from France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said he hoped that the new American administration would not use Iran’s military defenses “as a pretext to create new tensions.”

When the nuclear deal with Iran was reached in 2015 with major powers including the United States, sanctions on Iran were relaxed in exchange for its pledges of peaceful nuclear work. A Security Council resolution “called upon” the country not to undertake any tests of missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Iran contends that it has not violated the resolution and that its missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Nonetheless, the American and Israeli accusations have created what amounts to an early test of the Trump administration’s toughness on Iran. During the presidential election campaign, Mr. Trump denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran and sometimes conflated it with the Iranian missile program.

Mr. Zarif also used the news conference on Tuesday to emphasize Iran’s anger over the Trump administration’s executive order on Friday suspending refugee admissions and prohibiting the issuance of visas to Iran and six other majority-Muslim countries. Mr. Zarif called the order “a shameful act.”

The order has upended the lives of thousands of Iranians, who are by far the largest population affected among the affected countries, which also include Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iran’s government has pledged a reciprocal response to the order.

Mr. Ayrault told reporters at the news conference that France had “expressed its concern” over Iran’s missile tests, according to an account by Agence France-Presse.

Earlier upon his arrival in Tehran, Iranian news media quoted Mr. Ayrault as saying that the Trump administration’s order on refugees and visas amounted to “discrimination” and should be revoked.

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NYtimes

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