UN Security Council Votes On U.S.-Backed Resolution To Extend Arms Embargo On Iran
By RFE/RL August 14, 2020
A crucial vote on whether to extend an arms embargo against Iran is taking place at the UN Security Council as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog in Vienna.
The August 14 Security Council vote on a U.S.-drafted resolution to extend indefinitely the embargo on Iran is widely expected to fail due to strong opposition from veto-wielding council members Russia and China.
Pompeo, speaking before a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi, reiterated the U.S. position that the United States will do everything in its power to extend the embargo, which is set to be progressively eased beginning on October 18.
"It makes no sense to permit the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism to purchase and sell weapons systems," Pompeo told a news conference. "I mean, that's just nuts."
Pompeo said he was urging the rest of the world to support the U.S. stance in the vote, which is taking place by e-mail under remote-working rules implemented because of the coronavirus pandemic. A result is expected late on August 14.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 14 proposed that the next step should be an online summit for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany, and Iran, to discuss the Iran arms embargo.
"Further growth of tensions and greater risks of a conflict are the alternative," Putin said in a statement posted on the Kremlin's website. "This march of events must be avoided. Russia is open to constructive cooperation with all those interested in moving away from the dangerous line."
U.S. President Donald Trump was asked whether he would accept an invitation to such a summit.
"I haven't been told of it," Trump said, speaking at a White House briefing. "I hear there's something, but I haven't been told of it yet."
In the Kremlin statement, Putin added that Russia remained fully committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018, saying it failed to address Iran's missile program or its support for regional militias and terrorist groups.
The outcome of the Security Council vote is likely to set the stage for a showdown between the United States and Russia and China over whether international sanctions eased under the 2015 deal can or should be reimposed on Washington's demand.
If the Security Council doesn't prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons when the embargo ends, Washington has said it will trigger a "snapback" of all UN sanctions on Iran.
Russia and China have not only opposed extending the arms embargo, they also have questioned Washington's right to use a disputed legal move to force a return of UN sanctions on Iran.
Pompeo and Iran hard-liners in Washington claim the United States remains a participant in the accord because it was listed as such in the 2015 resolution that enshrined the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers and can therefore bring back sanctions since Iran has not fully complied with its nuclear commitments.
Diplomats from several countries that are still committed to the nuclear deal have expressed concern that extending the arms embargo would lead to Iran's exit from the agreement.
Pompeo said whatever the result of the vote, the IAEA plays a major role in the future of the nuclear deal that it monitors and said Iran must provide full and immediate cooperation with the IAEA.
Pompeo is in Austria on the third leg of a four-nation tour of Eastern and Central Europe that has already taken him to the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He will wrap up the trip in Poland on August 15.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, TASS, and dpa
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/un-security- council-votes-on-u-s--backed-resolution-to- extend-arms-on-iran/30784118.html
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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