Pompeo: Iran sanctions could return if arms embargo isn't extended

Secretary of State warns of a return of UN sanctions on Iran if Security Council fails to extend arms embargo.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Wednesday of a return of UN sanctions on Iran if the Security Council fails to extend an arms embargo expiring in October, AFP reported.

"Our focus now is to work with Security Council to pass this resolution," Pompeo was quoted as having told reporters.

"But, in the event it doesn't happen, we remind the world that the Obama administration's officials said very clear(ly) that the United States has the unilateral ability to snap back sanctions into place," he added, confirming US intentions.

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.

Pompeo recently vowed to use all means available to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran. The United States has put forward a resolution to extend the embargo but faces opposition from veto-wielding Russia and China, which stand to win contracts with Tehran.

Pompeo quoted both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry on the right of the United States to impose sanctions if Iran violates the embargo.

The UN resolution proposed by the United States would condemn Iran over a September 2019 attack against oil facilities in regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Britain, France and Germany made clear last week they would not back US efforts to unilaterally trigger the reimposition of United Nations sanctions on Iran.

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has argued that since the United States has already withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, it can’t now use its former membership of the pact to try to impose a permanent arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.

Iran, as expected, has criticized US calls to renew the arms embargo. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani recently urged UN Security Council members to oppose what he called a US "conspiracy" to extend the embargo.