image Photo: Reuters

US vows to maintain arms embargo on Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States is in the process of evaluating its course of action vis-à-vis an imminent expiration of a United Nations prohibition that would permit Iran to purchase conventional weapons by 23 October.

In response to a question from the press at a State Department briefing, the American top diplomat stressed that Washington would work with the U.N. Security Council to extend the prohibition, at a time when Iran continues to conduct “terror campaigns” throughout the Middle East.

“Iran’s ability to purchase conventional weapons systems starting on October 23rd of this year in the absence of action.  We’re not going to let that happen,” said Pompeo.

Saying that “the failures of the Iran nuclear deal are legion,” Pompeo insisted “ One of them is now upon us.  It’s now just several months out where China, Russia, other countries from around the world can all sell significant conventional weapons systems to the Iranians in October of this year.  This isn’t far off.  This isn’t some fantasy by conservatives.  This is a reality.”

“Does anybody think that the nation that today is conducting terror campaigns by Lebanese Hezbollah or Iraqi Shia movements or firing military missiles into the air ought to be permitted to purchase conventional weapons systems in just a few months?” the U.S. Secretary of State asked rhetorically, before adding, “I think the world realizes that’s a mistake.”

“We’re urging our E3 partners to take action, which is within their capacity to do.  We’ll go – we’ll work with the U.N. Security Council to extend that prohibition on those arms sales.  And then in the event we can’t get anyone else to act, the United States is evaluating every possibility about how we might do that.”

When asked whether the United States has the legal validity to demand an extension to the U.N. prohibition since the Trump Administration withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic two years ago, Secretary Pompeo cited U.N. Resolution 2231 as “very clear:  We don’t have to – we don’t have to declare ourselves a participant.  UN Security Council Resolution 2231 is unambiguous where the United States is a participant in the UN Security – it’s just there in the language.”

In an indictment of the previous administration Pompeo continued to insist that UNSC Res. 2231 is “unambiguous and the rights that accrue to participants in the UN Security Council resolution are fully available to all those participants.  We’re going to – we are going to make sure that come October of this year, the Iranians aren’t able to buy conventional weapon that they would be given what President Obama and Vice President Biden delivered to the world in that terrible deal.”

It is important to explain that the American bid to use a so-called snapback of sanctions to prolong the ban on all types of weapons sale to the Islamic Republic would avert the need of advancing a new resolution by means of the Security Council, where Russian and Chinese vetoes are expected to interdict any Western-initiated legislation related to Iran.