US wants an indefinite UN arms embargo on Iran, officials say

US wants an indefinite UN arms embargo on Iran, officials say

US diplomats are circulating draft of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would scrap expiration of 2015 nuclear deal’s ban on weapons sales to Tehran.

Under that deal, a UN arms embargo on Iran is due to expire in October.

The a move is expected to spark opposition from Moscow, which has made no secret of its desire to resume conventional weapons sales to Tehran.

The draft document, which have been circulating among Security Council members, would see a strike of the expiration of the weapons embargo from the UNSC resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between six major powers and Iran.

The US could present the resolution for a vote in May when Estonia, a NATO member and a close US strategic ally will hold the rotating presidency of the UNSC. Russia will hold the UNSC presidency in October.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France to be adopted. Diplomats said the United States would likely struggle to get Russia and China to allow an arms embargo extension.

Any attempt to extend the arm embargo will certainly face a stiff opposition from both Russia and China, two UNSC’s veto-wielding permanent members who have long argued that the embargo should be removed and want to resume arms sales to Iran.

The Chinese, Russians and many other UNSC members have signalled the impact that the unilateral US sanctions have had on Tehran, crippling its oil exports and damaging its economy.

US President Donald Trump quit the agreement in 2018 and described the accord from Barack Obama’s presidency as “the worst deal ever.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the US plan in a tweet on Monday, telling Washington to “stop dreaming.”

“It’s going to be messy from a Security Council standpoint because, regardless of what (Britain, Germany and France) think, Russia and China are not going to sign up to that legal interpretation,” said a European official quoted by Reuters.

Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org

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