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US-China Tension Impacts Iran Arms Embargo

US-China Tension Impacts Iran Arms Embargo

Friday, 26 June, 2020 - 06:30
FILE PHOTO - The United Nations Security Council meets in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, January 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
New York - Ali Barada

China has a tougher stance than Russia on a US draft resolution that would maintain the arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, diplomats told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Chinese stance appeared on Wednesday as US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and US Ambassador Kelly Craft briefed UN Security Council members on the resolution, said the diplomats.

The draft US resolution would ban Iran from supplying, selling or transferring any arms or related material from its territory after the embargo expires on October 18.

It would also condemn the September 2019 attack against Saudi oil installations “carried out by Iran” and condemn December 2019 attacks against an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk and the US Embassy in Baghdad.

It would deplore “Iran’s transfers of arms to militias and other armed groups in the region” and demand that Iran stop such transfers immediately.

During the briefing of Hook and Craft via videoconference on Wednesday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reiterated Moscow’s opposition to a new arms embargo on Iran, a diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat.

China had a “tougher stance,” clearly indicating its rejection of the draft resolution, said the diplomat.

“It has no chance to see the light,” he quoted the Chinese ambassador to the UN as saying about the draft.

Russia and China will be isolated at the UN if they continue down the "road to dystopia" by blocking the US bid to extend the weapons ban on Iran, Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the Security Council.

"We see a widening gap between Russia and China and the international community," Hook said in the interview with the news agency.

In a statement, the US mission to the UN said that Craft and Hook virtually briefed the Council on the proposed resolution.

"Conventional arms restrictions under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 are set to expire on October 18. Special Representative Hook noted that the Security Council should be united over its concern with Iranian arms transfers, and that it has maintained arms restrictions on Iran since 2007," said the statement.

"He updated Security Council members on the full range of Iran’s malign activity, including its September 2019 direct attack on Saudi Arabia."

"Given that Iran has neither abided by current restrictions nor demonstrated a change in its threatening behavior, Special Representative Hook and Ambassador Craft called on Security Council members to extend the arms embargo," the mission added.

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