US State Secretary Mike Pompeo made his pitch at the UN Security Council, on June 30, to indefinitely extend arms embargo on Iran which was vehemently opposed by Russia. The arms embargo on Iran is set to expire in mid-October under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), also known as Iran nuclear deal.
Pompeo said that Iran will be free to become a “rogue” weapon dealer to fuel conflicts once the arms embargo expires on October 18 under the “flawed nuclear deal” signed by Obama administration. He highlighted that Iran isn’t a “responsible democracy” like India or Australia and if the embargo expires, it will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can put cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.
The top US diplomat said that Tehran will be free to purchase new and advanced technologies for its proxies and partners throughout the Middle East, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis. He warned that Rouhani’s regime will hold a “sword of Damocles” over the economic stability of the Middle East.
“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,” said Pompeo, pushing the Council to adopt the draft resolution to extend the embargo.
However, Russia strongly objected to Trump administration’s demand, saying American policy of “unilateral steps” neglects the “common sense” and opinions of other states. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Council that the “maximum pressure” policy is akin to kneeling on someone’s neck, a veiled reference to George Floyd’s death that has triggered protests across the US against systemic racism.
“The goal is to carry out a regime change or to create a situation in which Iran literally wouldn’t be able to breathe. This is like putting a knee to one’s neck,” said Nebenzia.
In order to get the Security Council resolution adopted, the US would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes from permanent members including Russia and China. However, Moscow and Beijing have already indicated that they are not in favour of extending the embargo, which means the resolution will get vetoed.