New York – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday told the UN Security Council that it “must hold Iran accountable” by extending a soon-to-expire UN arms embargo on the country.
“Don’t just take itfrom me or the United States, listen to countries in the region, from Israel, the Gulf, countries in the Middle Eastwho are most exposed to Iran’s predations are speaking with a single voice: extend the arms embargo,” Pompeo said.
He warned that if the council failed to act, Tehran would be free to buy Russian-made fighter jets, upgrade and expand its fleet of submarines, purchase new technologies for its proxies and partners in the Middle East, and become a rogue weapons dealer.
The embargo is set to expire in October, as part of UN Resolution 2231, in which the UN Security Council backed the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna in 2015.
The Vienna agreement was intended to enable Iran to have a civilian nuclear programme, while preventing nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
The deal began to fray in 2018 as the Trump administration withdrew the US and reimposed sanctions. Iran then began violating many of the agreements made in 2015.
A draft resolution in the 15-member council to extend the embargo would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Beijing’s ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said China opposes the US push to extend the restrictions.