Aug 25, 2019, 1:36 AM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83449570
5 Persons
US new nightmare: Expiration of Iran arms embargo

Tehran, August 24, IRNA- As the expiration of an arms embargo on Iran, based on the Iran nuclear deal and UN Security Council Resolution 2231, gets closer, the White House is getting more concerned and American authorities are doing their utmost to make these restrictions permanent.

One of the issues used by the United States to withdraw from the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries was the time span of the UN arms embargo on Iran. The measure covers all weapons sales and "related material" to Iran. During the past year, officials from the Trump Administration have been focusing on the issue, calling for the JCPOA restrictions on Iran to become permanent.

On Tuesday, August 21, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, told a UN Security Council meeting on Middle East peace and security challenges that the clock was ticking on the resolution restricting weapons sales to Iran which is due to end in October 2020.

"Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran's capacity to foment its terror regime," he said.

Pompeo warned that the expiration of provisions in Security Council Resolution 2231 would also see a travel ban on IRGC's Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, due to expire next year.

"The international community will have plenty of time to see how long it has until Iran is unshackled to create new turmoil, and figure out what it must do to prevent this from happening," he said.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi responded to Pompeo's comments and accused the United States of causing insecurity and instability with its military presence and “unbridled flow of American weaponry into this region, which has turned it into a powder keg.”

“While we are not seeking confrontation, we cannot and will not remain indifferent to the violation of our sovereignty. Therefore, in order to secure our borders and interests, we will vigorously exercise our inherent right to self-defense,” he told the Security Council.

Meanwhile, the US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters in New York ahead of Pompeo's remarks that "We believe the UNSC has an important role to play to ensure that the arms embargo and the travel ban are continued."

This is not the first time the US expresses concern about the imminent expiration of Iran's arms embargo. At a Security Council meeting in December, Pompeo urged the 15-member body to prevent Iran from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, carrying out test launches and establish “inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.”

The push to extend the ban on weapons sales to Tehran comes amid increasing efforts by Washington to restrict Iran's oil exports. Since the decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, Washington has attempted to use what it calls "maximum pressure" to bring the Islamic Republic's oil sales to zero.

Mike Pompeo has warned the international community against helping ships that are believed to be carrying crude oil from Iran in breach of US sanctions.

"We've made clear anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock, is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States of America," Pompeo said.

But despite all US efforts, the UN Security Council has not, and is unlikely to take any action on Iran. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the nuclear deal, while diplomats say Russia and China - which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain - are likely to shield Iran from any action.

Iran has so far maintained that it is not seeking a confrontation and the US actions are tantamount to bullying.

"Iran is not interested in confrontation. We were not the ones who walked away from a carefully negotiated agreement, an agreement that was not exactly what we wanted and certainly not exactly what the US wanted, or Europeans wanted or for that matter not exactly what China and Russia wanted," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, referring to the nuclear deal.

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