un-sanctions 07 May 2020

US Congress overwhelmingly supports extension of UN arms embargo on Iran

An overwhelming majority of US lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have put their signatures to a letter urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to do more to push for the renewal of a UN arms embargo against Iran that is currently set to expire in October.

‘We write to urge increased diplomatic action by the United States to renew the expiring United Nations arms embargo against Iran and United Nations travel restrictions on those Iranian individuals involved with dangerous proliferation activities,’ the lawmakers from the Republican and Democratic parties wrote.

‘America must continue its longstanding, bipartisan leadership in order to limit Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the world. We look forward to working with you to reauthorize these expiring U.N. restrictions, which are essential to protecting our national security and the American people.’

The letter was organized by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and has been signed by 384 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives.

A UN arms embargo on Iran is set to expire in October, under a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (‘JCPOA’) also stipulates the lifting of an arms export ban on Iran as well as travel restrictions on officials and entities involved in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and missile programs. But that agreement was upended when the US pulled out in 2018.

Media reports indicate that a renewal of the arms embargo is likely to be opposed by Russia and China, which have veto power in the Security Council and are said to be eager to resume arms sales to Tehran.

‘We’re not going to let that happen,’ Pompeo told reporters at a 29 April news briefing, when asked about the expiration of the arms embargo.

‘We will work with the UN Security Council to extend that prohibition on those arms sales and then in the event we can’t get anyone else to act, the United States is evaluating every possibility about how we might do that,’ he said.

Iran has called US efforts to extend the embargo ‘illegitimate’ and warned it would react to them with ‘proportionate’ measures.