Hopes of reaching global agreement for a landmark Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the multi-billion-euro weapons industry faded on Thursday at the United Nations.
The aim had been to set international standards for conventional weapons sales, tying them to respect for human rights.
The ambitious attempt to achieve consensus was rejected by three member states – Iran, North Korea and Syria. Their reasons were mainly domestic but Iran’s UN Ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee specifically said the wording of the treaty left too much in doubt.
“While the rights of arms-exporting states is well preserved in this text,” he said, “the right of importing states to acquire and import arms for their security needs is subject to the discretionary judgement and subjective assessment of the exporting states.”
He added that the measure would leave the sale of conventional weapons covered by the text “highly susceptible to politicisation, manipulation and discrimination”.
The treaty is not however lost . Although supporters were hoping to secure the backing of all 193 member states they are now expected to take the draft to the UN General Assembly, where it will likely pass by a large majority.