U.S. to introduce UN resolution on Iranian arms embargo

Russia and China oppose the measure
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at press conference

REUTERS/Jim Young/Poolar  -   U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at press conference

The United States will be tabling a resolution at the UN Security Council next week to extend the arms embargo on Iran, a measure which expires in October and which Russia and China have clearly said they do not want to renew.

"Next week, the US will push for a resolution in the Security Council to extend the embargo on Iran," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a press conference Wednesday.

A priori, the resolution is doomed to failure because Washington does not have the minimum nine votes required for a resolution to go ahead, and in the case of reaching them, Russia or China could block it because they have veto power in the United Nations Security Council.

"The mission of the Security Council is to maintain international peace and security. The council would be making a mockery of that mission if it allowed the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to openly buy and sell weapons," said the head of U.S. diplomacy.

If the vote fails, Pompeo has suggested that Washington could invoke a clause that is part of the 2015 nuclear agreement and was designed to re-impose on Tehran all the UN sanctions that had been lifted, but only if it was found to have violated the pact.

"One way or another, we are going to make sure that the arms embargo is extended," warned Pompeo, who without going into details added: "We are not going to let the embargo expire on 18 October. We are aware that this clause is an option that is available to the United States.

The European powers, as well as China and Russia, consider that the United States does not have the right to use this mechanism since it abandoned the 2015 pact and failed to comply with its commitments.

European countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom are in favour of continuing the arms embargo, despite the fact that they have been very critical of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw in 2018 from the agreement aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons.

For their part, Russia and China believe that the embargo on Tehran should be lifted and reject pressure from Washington.

The future of the nuclear pact, signed by the main powers and accepted by the United States under the government of Barack Obama, is in the air because of Trump's rejection and the subsequent non-compliance by Iran in response.