US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US administration will continue its efforts to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran despite widespread opposition to such a move at the world body.

Iran PressAmerica: Pompeo said on Wednesday that the United States would call for a Security Council vote next week on a US-drafted resolution to extend the embargo that is due to expire in October. The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition, according to Associated Press.

“The Security Council’s mission is to maintain international peace and security,” Pompeo claimed. “The council would make an absolute mockery of that mission if it were to allow the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons openly.”

If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism that would restore all UN sanctions on Iran. Snapback was envisioned in the 2015 nuclear deal in the event Iran was proven to be in violation of the accord, under which it received billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

“One way or another we will ensure that the arms embargo will be extended,” he said. “We’re not going to let the arms embargo expire on October 18. We’re deeply aware that snapback is an option that is available to the United States.”

Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and has steadily reimposed US penalties on Iran, leading Iran to step up uranium enrichment and heavy water production outside the allowed limits. 

The remaining participants in the 2015 nuclear deal have said the US no longer has the standing to invoke snapback.

Under the nuclear deal, the UN arms embargo against Iran will expire Oct. 18 if Iran is in compliance with the agreement. For several months, Pompeo and other US officials have been lobbying for the indefinite extension of the embargo, saying its expiration would allow Iran to import weapons at will and further destabilize the Middle East.

The European participants in the nuclear deal, Britain, France, and Germany, have said they have concerns about Iran’s ability to import and export weapons. But they have also pointed out that it was envisioned by the agreement and they are concerned that Iran may abandon the accord entirely if the embargo is extended. China and Russia have threatened to veto any attempt to extend the embargo.

But a snapback of UN sanctions would not be subject to veto, due to the unusual way the provision was worded. The other members of the Security Council could, however, simply choose to ignore a US invocation of snapback, which would create a crisis of credibility in the UN’s most powerful body.


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