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

Pompeo Warns Arms Sales to Iran Will Result in Sanctions as Embargo Expires

Pompeo Warns Arms Sales to Iran Will Result in Sanctions as Embargo Expires

Monday, 19 October, 2020 - 06:00
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, on April 29, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that Washington will impose sanctions for selling arms to Iran even as the United Nations embargo against sales to the nation expires.

“The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” Pompeo said.

He added that for the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various UN measures.

“Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security,” the US Secretary of State added.

His comments came as Tehran confirmed that the United Nations sanctions on buying and selling conventional weapons has been lifted "automatically". An Iranian Foreign Ministry statement published by the Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, earlier on Twitter, said, “Today’s normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region.”

He added it was “a momentous day for the international community, which— in defiance of malign US efforts—has protected UNSC Res. 2231 and JCPOA.”

For its part, Reuters said Iran announced it was self-reliant in its defense and had no need to go on a weapons buying spree as a United Nations conventional arms embargo was due to expire on Sunday despite strong US opposition.

“Iran’s defense doctrine is premised on strong reliance on its people and indigenous capabilities ... Unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of

conventional arms have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine,” said a Foreign Ministry statement carried by state media.

The arms embargo on Iran was due to expire on Sunday.

In 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal that sought to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in return for economic sanctions relief.

The US has pushed the UN Security Council to pass an extension of the embargo but the council voted down the proposal in August.

Following the failure of the resolution, the US sought to trigger “snapback” sanctions on Iran unilaterally.

Western military analysts told Reuters that Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although concerns about its long-range ballistic missile program contributed to Washington leaving the Iran nuclear deal.

Editor Picks