WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the UN Security Council on Tuesday to extend an expiring arms embargo on Iran, arguing that “the world’s most egregious terrorist regime” is a threat to peace and international security and “must be held responsible”.
The international embargo will expire in October as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. [JCPOA] Signed by Iran, the EU, Germany, and permanent members of the Security Council, including the US, the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.
While the United States has circulated a proposal to extend the embargo, Russia and China, both veto members of the Security Council, made clear on Tuesday that they would not support extending the embargo, and European signatories indicated that their priority was to preserve the JCPOA.
Speaking after Pompeo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Council that any change in the agreed timetable is “equivalent to undermining[alJCPOA}initsentirety”[theJCPOA}initsentirety”[alJCPOA}ensutotalidad”[theJCPOA}initsentirety”
“The Council must not allow a single state to abuse the process,” said Zarif. “In such a scenario, Iran’s options, as the remaining JCPOA participants have already been notified, will be strong.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned on Monday that if the arms embargo were extended, Iran would take action, according to The Tehran Times.
Members of the Security Council had met to discuss a new report by the UN Secretary-General on the embargo, which found that the cruise missiles and drones used in the attacks on Saudi Arabia in the past two years were of Iranian origin.
“Iran is already violating the arms embargo before its expiration date,” Pompeo warned, pointing to the UN report. “If Iran is not a threat to peace that requires collective action, I do not know what is. The Council must reject extortion diplomacy.”
Pompeo did not come up with previous threats to pursue the “rollback” of all multilateral sanctions under the JCPOA if the measure failed. The Trump administration has argued that the United States maintains legal authority under the UN resolution to reimpose sanctions despite the U.S. withdrawal in July 2018.
“The overwhelming preference of the United States is to work with this Council to extend the embargo, protect human life, protect our national security and theirs,” said Pompeo. The top US diplomat did not linger over the statements of other UNSC members, replaced shortly after his remarks by United States Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft.
China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the EU and Iran remain parties to the agreement.
“China opposes the United States’ push for an extended arms embargo against Iran,” said Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun, who argued that all measures in the nuclear deal should be implemented. “Having resigned from the JCPOA,” he said, “the United States is no longer a participant and has no right to cause a pullback in the Security Council.”
The United Kingdom, Germany and France expressed similar concerns regarding Iran’s acquisition of arms, but made clear that the priority was to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. European members also spoke out against unilateral action by the United States to sanction sanctions.
The United Kingdom’s Deputy Representative to the UN, Jonathan Allen, acknowledged that lifting the arms restrictions “would have important implications for regional security and stability,” but said that preserving the nuclear deal would be the “guiding principle” of European members.
“In the absence of a viable alternative,” said Allen, “the agreement provides the best means to achieve our shared goals on regional security instability that upholds the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensures the continued authority and integrity of the Security Council. “
The meeting was held just a day after Iran’s appeal to Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for United States President Donald Trump and others responsible for the drone attack that killed the Quds Corps Force commander. of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qassem Soleimani. Interpol has denied the request.