According to a recent Reuters report, the UN Security Council is preparing to vote on a U.S. proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran. Meanwhile, Britain, France, and Germany are attempting a difficult negotiation with Russia and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to extend the arms embargo. Russia and the CCP, Iran’s allies, have long voiced their opposition to the U.S. measure.
An arms embargo is currently in place that will expire in October under a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, Russia, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States that prevents Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for easing sanctions.
A Chinese diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on condition of anonymity with Reuters, said extending the arms embargo to Iran in any form has no legal basis and will undermine efforts to preserve the nuclear deal, adding that “there is no possibility” that the U.S. proposal will be adopted.
Meanwhile, on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft told Fox News that both Russia and the CCP want to benefit from the end of the arms embargo on Iran. “Russia and China are waiting to be able to sell arms to Iran,” the ambassador said.
On her Twitter account she added, “We cannot allow Iran to continue destabilizing the Middle East by proliferating weapons & arming terrorists.”
Thank you @MarthaMacCallum @FoxNews for speaking with me tonight about extending the Iran arms embargo. We cannot allow Iran to continue destabilizing the Middle East by proliferating weapons & arming terrorists. pic.twitter.com/8VPGt9EbTk
— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) August 11, 2020
President Donald Trump, convinced that the nuclear agreement of 2015 was an absolute failure, decided to resign in 2018. He said the agreement “was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” At the same time, President Trump ordered his administration to immediately begin the process of reimposing sanctions.
Reimposing the U.N. sanctions would require Iran to suspend all activities related to nuclear weapons research and development and ban imports of anything that could contribute to such activities or to the development of nuclear weapon systems.
The arms embargo would be reimposed, Iran would be prohibited from developing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and targeted sanctions would be reimposed against dozens of individuals and entities. It would also urge states to inspect shipments to and from Iran and authorize them to seize any prohibited cargo.
However, Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the conflict prevention advocacy body International Crisis Group, said that there was “zero chance” that the U.S. attempt to extend the arms embargo would be adopted and that it was a strategy for rollback.
The U.S. bill needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and the CCP to use their vetoes, some diplomats question whether it will have enough support to secure at least those nine votes.