US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that America will submit a resolution at the UN Security Council next week calling for an extension of the arms embargo on Iran. In a move that is likely to ratchet up tension with the Islamic Republic, Pompeo told reporters that he was confident that his efforts to extend sanctions will be successful.
“We will ensure the arms embargo is extended,” he insisted, dismissing opposition from China and Russia, both of which have a veto as permanent members of the council. “One way or another we will do the right thing.”
Pompeo expressed concern over what he described as a rush to sell weapons to Tehran. There are “nations lining up” to sell Iran weapons that will “destabilise the Middle East, put Israel at risk, put Europe at risk, risk American lives as well. We’re not going to let it happen,” said the 56 year old. “The Security Council’s mission is to ensure international peace and security. It would make an absolute mockery of that mission if it allowed the number one state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons freely.”
The current embargo is set to expire in October. It was imposed two years ago when US President Donald Trump pulled out unilaterally from the 2015 nuclear deal agreed between the group of countries known as the P5+1 — the US, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany — and Iran.
Talks to extend the arms embargo began in June when the UN Security Council held the first round of talks on the US proposal to extend the punitive measure indefinitely. Last month, though, Russian President Vladimir Putin was reported as saying that sanctions against Iran have no chance of succeeding.