Pompeo: We'll use all means to extend UN arms embargo on Iran

Secretary of State says US will not allow UN ban on selling conventional weapons to Iran to expire on October.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed on Wednesday to use all means available to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran, AFP reports.

A ban on selling conventional weapons to Iran ends in October under a 2015 Security Council resolution that blessed the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and from which US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

"We're not going to let that happen," Pompeo told a news conference, adding, "In the event we can't get anyone else to act, the United States is evaluating every possibility about how we might do that."

Pompeo said he would ask the UN Security Council to prolong the ban.

China and Russia, which stand to win major new arms contracts with Iran, are certain to oppose an extension. They only agreed to the five-year ban in 2015 as a compromise reached with the Obama administration.

The one way to avoid a veto by China or Russia is if a participant in the nuclear deal triggers a return of sanctions by declaring Iran to be in violation, noted AFP.

Pompeo said that the United States will seek action from Britain, France and Germany -- which remain part of the nuclear accord.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to Trump’s withdrawal from the accord.

Britain, France and Germany have attempted to save the agreement, but recently triggered the dispute mechanism in the nuclear deal that could eventually lead to reimposing UN sanctions on Iran.

Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that the United States was ready to argue that it is itself a participant because it is listed as one in the resolution from 2015, even though Trump has repeatedly said that Washington has bolted the "worst deal ever" after he took over.

"There's nothing magic about this," Pompeo said. "It's unambiguous, and the rights that accrue to participants of the UN Security Council resolution are fully available to all those participants.”

"We're going to make sure that come October of this year, the Iranians aren't able to buy conventional weapons that they would be, given what president Obama and Vice President Biden have delivered to the world in that terrible deal," he stressed.