Pompeo Tells UN Security Council To Extend Arms Embargo on Iran Indefinitely
July 1, 2020 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the UN Security Council June 30 to tell its members that under no circumstances should the UN arms embargo on Iran be lifted; otherwise, Iran will be buying weapons with which it can threaten Europe. “This chamber has a choice,” he declared. “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.”
“If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 km radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.” He didn’t explain why Iran would want to bomb any of these cities.
The occasion for the session was to review the implementation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program and UN Security Council resolution 2213, the resolution that made the JCPOA part of international law. The stage was set, however, by the UN Secretary General’s report on the implementation of the JCPOA and UNSC 2231 which “confirmed” that Iranian-made weapons were used in the attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in September 2019. “Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date,” Pompeo crowed. “Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions were lifted.”
Pompeo did not get the support he was perhaps expecting, however. China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said the five-year arms embargo—itself a compromise between the Obama Administration and Moscow and Beijing—should end as scheduled under the 2015 resolution, reported AFP.
“Having quit the JCPOA, the U.S. is no longer a participant and has no right to trigger snapback at the Security Council,” Zhang said. The three European signatories on the JCPOA have expressed support for extending the arms embargo but oppose snapback of UN sanctions, arguing that Iran’s nuclear program is the bigger issue. “Unilateral attempts to trigger UN sanctions snapback are incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPOA,” said the British envoy, Jonathan Allen.
Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia warned against the Security Council “legitimizing” the U.S. policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran. “We’ve been watching with grave concern the policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran, which is better characterized as a ‘maximum suffocation’ policy,” he said. “Iran is being deliberately squeezed from all directions. The task is to achieve ‘regime change’ or create a situation where Iran literally wouldn’t be able to breathe. This is like putting a knee on one’s neck.”
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delivered a nine-page statement to the Council, the theme of which was that it is the U.S. that has violated international law with its withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018. For the first time, “we are witnessing that a permanent member of the UNSC has violated a resolution drafted by the UN and threatens others to violate it,” he said. It is a matter of regret to say that a meeting has not so far been held to study the case in the UNSC, he further said.
All of these statements were preceded by a briefing to the Council by Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. The JCPOA “is a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy and dialogue. It remains crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and to regional and international security,” she said, reported Xinhua. It is, therefore, regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt after the withdrawal of the United States from it and the reversal of some of Iran’s commitments, she said.