US says Lifting arms embargo on Iran will trigger regional arms race

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US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has again called for extending an expiring United Nations weapons embargo on the Islamic Republic, claiming that lifting the arms embargo on the country will trigger an arms race in the Middle East region.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Monday, Hook said lifting the ban would “only embolden” Iran and destabilize the region. “This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept. The council’s mandate is clear: to maintain international peace and security,” Hook added. Jubeir said, “Despite the embargo, Iran seeks to provide weapons to terrorist groups, so what will happen if the embargo is lifted? Iran will become more ferocious and aggressive.” “We urge the international community to extend the embargo on selling arms to Iran and on Iran’s ability to sell arms to the world,” the Saudi foreign minister added. The accusations come as the United States, the biggest arms exporter in the world, has been supporting a devastating Saudi-led war in Yemen, which the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Washington has stepped up calls for the extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran, which will expire in October under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Trump administration has threatened that it may seek to trigger a snapback of all sanctions on Iran if its attempts to extend the arms embargo fail. Tehran, however, has firmly rejected Washington’s plans as the US is no longer a party to the nuclear deal ever since it withdrew from the multilateral agreement in 2018. China and Russia, which are both signatories to the JCPOA, echoed Tehran’s position in their recent statements. “US failed to meet its obligations under Resolution 2231 by withdrawing from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” China’s UN mission said. Also noting that Washington is in gross violation of Resolution 2231, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed that “no one is allowed to implement UNSC Security Council resolutions selectively and extremely fragmentarily”.

At UN, US pushing for extension of Iran arms ban, warns Russia, China

In May 2018, President Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA, unleashing the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran. While the US is no longer a party to the 2015 deal, it has launched a campaign to renew the arms ban through a resolution at the UN Security Council. The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the measure on June 30, but Russia and China are most likely to veto it. Earlier this month, Iran’s UN ambassador said Washington’s call for the extension of the arms embargo on Tehran lacks legal standing in international law. Majid Takht-e Ravanchi said the US ambassador to the UN “wrongly” believes the US retains the right to initiate snapback of sanctions under the Security Council Resolution 2231. “WRONG: US cannot be a JCPOA ‘Participant’, since Donald Trump ceased US participation,” the Iranian ambassador noted, referring to Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw his country from the Iran nuclear deal in violation of the Resolution 2231. “The US—which is in violation of the resolution—has no right to initiate anything under 2231,” he added.

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