Publish date27 Jun 2020 - 16:02
Story Code : 467330

The US scraping the barrel trying to extend UN arms embargo on Iran

Alireza Hashemi
In recent weeks, the US has been using every chance to prevent the expiration of UN arms embargo that bars arms sales to and from Iran.
The US scraping the barrel trying to extend UN arms embargo on Iran
In recent weeks, the US has been using every chance to prevent the expiration of UN arms embargo that bars arms sales to and from Iran.
Last week, Washington distributed a draft resolution at the Security Council that would indefinitely extend the embargo.
According to the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which approved the 2015 nuclear deal, the anti-Iran arms sanctions go away in October 2020.
The US officials have argued the removal of the arms sanctions would allow Iran to become an arms dealer of choice for "terrorists and rogue regimes" throughout the world.
According to the Associated Press, the US resolution would ban Iran from supplying, selling or transferring any arms or related material from its territory after the embargo expires on Oct. 18.
The resolution would also ban the other 192 UN member states from buying Iranian weapons or allowing their nationals to train, provide financial resources or assistance related “to the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture, maintenance, or use of arms and related materiel” to Iran unless they get Security Council approval at least 30 days in advance.
The paper would authorize all UN member states to inspect cargo entering or transiting through their territory at airports, seaports and free trade zones from Iran or heading there if the member state “has reasonable grounds to believe the cargo” contains banned items.
The draft resolution also blames Iran for the September 2019 attack against Saudi Arabia, and the December 2019 attacks against an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk and the US Embassy in Baghdad.
But will other powers agree to the US demands and go for an extension of the embargo?
Following its withdrawal from the pact, Washington has reimposed all the unilateral sanctions that were suspended under the accord.
The other parties to the nuclear accord – Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany – remain committed to the accord, but they are not on the same page regarding the latest US plan.
Russia and China have openly rejected American attempts at extending the arms embargo, but the western parties to the deal appear not to be that serious in their opposition to the US decision.
On July 20, France, Britain and Germany said they would not back the US threats to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran.
However, on the same day, the E3 managed to get an IAEA Board of Governors' resolution requesting Iran to engage allow the UN nuclear watchdog visit two sites.
Tehran has said the IAEA's request to visit the sites is based on clumsy accusations levelled by Israel.
The US draft resolution would need not to be vetoed by the permanent members of the council to pass.
China and Russia are unlikely to approve such a resolution now. But a combination of increased US pressure plus providing evidence Iran has violated its international obligations might change their view.
The draft resolution comes following a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that missiles and drones used in attacks against Saudi Arabia in 2019 were of "Iranian origin".
Tehran has dismissed the UN report, arguing that the UN secretariat "lacks the capacity, expertise and knowledge to conduct such a sophisticated and sensitive investigation".
But the UN report suggests Iran has violated provisions of Security Council resolution 2231, and this could serve as justification for increased pressure on China and Russia.
If the US proves unsuccessful in extending the embargo, it will try to bring back UN sanctions on Iran, even though it quit the accord in 2018.
The deal includes a "snap back" provision that allows the signatories to go back to the pre-deal status, restoring 2010s resolutions that placed sanctions on Iran.
The US withdrew from the nuclear pact in May 2018, so Trump cannot technically use the JCPOA's snapback mechanism to restore US sanctions on Iran.
The US officials have threatened they will be able to bring back the sanctions even without the snap back mechanism.
Iran has announced that restoring the UN sanctions will spell the end for the 2015 atomic pact.
The removal of the arms embargo was a notable reward for Iran under the accord, which imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has already exceeded a series of limitations agreed under the nuclear pact, to push the US to stop tightening the screws on the country.
Extending the embargo would urge Tehran to pull out of the nuclear pact, and it will be the final nail in the coffin of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The council is expected to discuss the 2231 Resolution's implementation on June 30.
A few days will tell if the US manages to extend the arms embargo on Iran.
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