Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo against Iran — which he described as the “world’s most heinous terrorist regime” – and stand by the international body’s commitment to “its finest ideals.”
“This chamber has a choice: Stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations’ founders intended, or let the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran expire, betraying the UN’s mission and its finest ideals, which we have all pledged to uphold,” Pompeo told the group Tuesday via a video presentation.
The secretary of state explained that unless the arms embargo is extended, Iran will hold a “sword of Damocles” over the economic stability of the Middle East and put a target on cities in the region, Europe and Asia.
“If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000-kilometer [1,864-mile] radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs,” the US’ top diplomat said.
“Iran will be free to upgrade and expand its fleet of submarines to further threaten international shipping and freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea,” he said.
The arms embargo against Iran is slated to expire in October as part of the Iran nuclear deal that President Trump withdrew the US from in May 2018.
“Because of the flawed nuclear deal negotiated by the previous American administration, the arms embargo on the world’s most heinous terrorist regime is scheduled to expire on October 18th, a mere four months from now. Four months,” Pompeo said.
If the US resolution to extend the arms embargo indefinitely isn’t approved — likely because of a veto from either Russia or China — Pompeo said the Trump administration would invoke a provision of the 2015 deal to reimpose all UN sanctions against Iran.
China, Russia, Germany, France, the European Union and the United Kingdom are all still part of the Iran deal.
Speaking later, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told the Security Council that the US violated the pact by withdrawing and urged the body to lift the embargo on Oct. 18.
“The council must not allow a single state to abuse the process,” Zarif said.
Russia and China appeared to be cool toward the US resolution.
“It is obvious that the ultimate goal is to antagonize Iran and push it to radical retaliation, which will become an invitation for further sanctions,” Russia’s US Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said the US “has no right to trigger” the provision because Trump pulled out of the accord.
With Post wires