UN Security Council rejects US demand to extend Iran arms embargo

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews  with AP
In this photo released Tuesday, July 28, 2020, by Sepahnews, a Revolutionary Guard's speed boat fires a missile during a military exercise.
In this photo released Tuesday, July 28, 2020, by Sepahnews, a Revolutionary Guard's speed boat fires a missile during a military exercise.   -   Copyright  Sepahnews via AP

The UN Security Council rejected a US resolution to extend an international arms embargo on Iran.

Only the Dominican Republic supported the Trump administration resolution out of the 15 members on the security council. Russia and China opposed the resolution and eleven other nations abstained.

The resolution would have prevented Tehran's buying and selling of conventional weapons indefinitely.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israel and the six Arab Gulf nations who supported the extension “know Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires, but the Security Council chose to ignore them.”

"The United States will never abandon our friends in the region who expected more from the Security Council," Pompeo said in a statement.

"We will continue to work to ensure that the theocratic terror regime does not have the freedom to purchase and sell weapons that threaten the heart of Europe, the Middle East and beyond."

A spokesperson for Iran's foreign ministry said the US should "stop shaming itself at UN, otherwise it will get isolated, even more than now."

US Ambassador Kelly Craft said "the United States stands sickened — but not surprised — as the clear majority of council members gave the green light to Iran to buy and sell all manner of conventional weapons."

US officials have suggested the US could use a "snap back" mechanism, as part of the 2015 nuclear deal to restore sanctions on Iran despite dropping out of the deal in 2018.

Lawyers at the State Department claimed in a memo that the US remains part of the Security Council resolution endorsing the deal and can use the provision to restore sanctions, AP reports.

Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany, meanwhile, are committed to the deal and said that extending the arms embargo could lead Iran to quit the nuclear agreement.

China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, reiterated after the vote that since the US is no longer party to the 2015 agreement, it is “ineligible to demand the Security Council invoke a snap back.”

He said the overwhelming majority of council members “believe the US attempt has no legal basis.”

Germany’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Günter Sautter, said after the vote that Germany remains committed to the nuclear deal, but remains deeply concerned about Iran's transfers of weapons to Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq in violation of the 2015 council resolution.

He said Germany has been engaging with council members and is ready to continue discussions "in order to find a pragmatic way forward, which addresses our collective concerns."