UN Fails to Approve Iran Arms Embargo Extension

US promises ‘to stop at nothing to extend it’: ambassador to UN
August 15, 2020 Updated: August 16, 2020

The United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a U.S. resolution to extend arms embargo on Iran which will expire in October. The United States vowed to take action to extend the embargo to prevent Iran from purchasing and selling weapons to terrorist organizations across the Middle East.

The U.N. Security Council met on Thursday evening to vote on a U.S. resolution that would indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran.

Voting was conducted via email due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

In the results announced on Friday evening, the resolution failed to garner a minimum of nine “yes” votes in the 15-member Security Council. China and Russia opposed extending the weapons ban, eleven members abstained, including France, Germany, and Britain, while Washington and the Dominican Republic were the only yes votes, according to Reuters.

Epoch Times Photo
In this photo released Tuesday, July 28, 2020, by Sepahnews, a Revolutionary Guard’s speed boat fires a missile during a military exercise. Iranian commandos also fast-roped down from a helicopter onto a replica of an aircraft carrier in the exercise called “Great Prophet 14.” (Sepahnews via AP)

The U.N. Security Council failed ”to uphold its fundamental mission … of maintaining international peace and security,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific U.N. restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade,” Pompeo said in the statement.

Many Middle East countries, including the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel, appealed directly to the Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran, but their requests were rejected, according to the statement.

“These countries know Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires, but the Security Council chose to ignore them,” Pompeo said in the statement.

“The United States will never abandon our friends in the region who expected more from the Security Council,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said in Vienna on Friday, where he met with the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s head, Rafael Grossi, and with senior Austrian officials that allowing this arms embargo to expire on October can also pose a threat to the “European people” as well.

“We can’t allow the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons. I mean, that’s just nuts,” Pompeo said at a joint press conference in Vienna.

“It doesn’t make sense for the European people either, … and we think anybody that’s within missile range will be at greater risk because of the air defense systems, for example, that the Iranians will be able to purchase if this arms embargo expires on October 18th,” Pompeo said.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft speaks during a Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, on Feb. 28, 2020. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft strongly criticized the Security Council for its decision.

It ”validates the world’s number one state sponsor of terror, just to save face and protect a failed political deal made outside the Council. A flawed deal, under which Iran remains in significant non-performance of its commitments,” Craft said in a statement.

She also called those Security Council members who opposed the resolution or “stood silently” to speak to the victims of terrorist attacks conducted by organizations or regimes supported by Iran in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries.

“The United States has every right to initiate snapback of provisions of previous Security Council resolutions. In the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo,” Craft said in the statement.

The United States could now trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran using a provision in the nuclear deal, known as snapback, even though President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018. Diplomats have said the United States could do this as early as next week but would face a tough, messy battle.

Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi warned the United States against trying to trigger a return of sanctions.

“Imposition of any sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited,” he said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed a video summit with the United States and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal—Britain, France, China, Germany, and Iran—to try to avoid further “confrontation and escalation” at the United Nations over Iran.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.