Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

US Seeking to Renew Arms Embargo on Iran

US Seeking to Renew Arms Embargo on Iran

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 - 10:00
US President Donald Trump discusses the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Diplomats have warned that the nuclear deal between Tehran and major countries would be more vulnerable if the UN Security Council voted this week on a US proposal to extend the arms embargo on Iran.

In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry quickly denied an Iranian news agency report that revealed the possibility of reducing US sanctions in preparation for the start of US-Iranian talks under the auspices of Germany and Britain.

The United States on Tuesday circulated a revised resolution that would extend a UN arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, seeking to gain more support in the 15-member Security Council, amid strong opposition by Russia and China.

US Ambassador Kelly Craft said the new draft “takes council views into account and simply does what everyone knows should be done — extend the arms embargo to prevent Iran from freely buying and selling conventional weapons.”

“It is only common sense that the world’s #1 state sponsor of terror not be given the means of unleashing even greater harm on the world,” she said in a statement.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would present this text despite strong opposition from China and Russia.

However, diplomats at the United Nations said that the current version of the text faces such strong opposition that it is unlikely that Washington will be able to obtain the nine votes necessary to pass it, as Moscow and Beijing will use their veto right.

AP reported that the new draft stated that the arms embargo, notwithstanding its Oct. 18 expiration, “shall continue to apply until the Security Council decides otherwise.” It says that full implementation of the arms embargo “is essential to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Meanwhile in Tehran, the Iranian ILNA news agency quoted a "source with knowledge of the matter” as saying that Germany and Britain have expressed their opposition to US proposals that include the extension of the arms embargo on Iran.

According to the sources quoted by the agency, the three European signatories to the nuclear agreement (France, Germany, and Britain) discussed the US proposals, adding that Germany, with the agreement and support of Britain, presented a proposal on the temporary abolition of the sanctions that have an economic impact on the lives of Iranians, in preparation for a “comprehensive round of talks on the outstanding issues between Iran and the US,” which would include discussions with Saudi Arabia on regional issues.

But less than an hour later, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, rebuffed the ILNA report in its entirety. The agency, which is close to the reformists, is affiliated with circles supporting the nuclear deal and President Hassan Rouhani’s foreign policy.

“Such statements are fabricated and baseless news and their purpose is unclear,” Mousavi said in comments on Tuesday.

Editor Picks