RFL/RE – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the United Nations Security Council on June 30 to argue in favor of an extension of a UN arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October.
Pompeo will make remarks during a public briefing of the council at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT/UTC), the U.S. State Department said on June 29 in a statement.
The United States is pushing the UN Security Council to indefinitely extend the embargo, a move that veto-holders Russia and China have signaled they oppose.
Pompeo has said he is “hopeful” that the “whole world” will understand the need to extend the embargo.
“I think all but a couple of nations understand that this should not expire and there is going to be a discussion about how it is that we extend it,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington last week.
The United States last week formally asked the council to extend the embargo, which is set to be progressively eased beginning in October under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, said on June 24 that the Security Council should be united over its concern with Iranian arms transfers and noted that the UN has maintained arms restrictions on Iran since 2007.
The five-year ban on selling conventional arms to Iran was established in conjunction with the nuclear agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. If the ban is lifted, Russia and China are the two countries most likely to sign arms deals with the Islamic republic, experts say.
Iran would likely seek to purchase fighter jets, tanks, naval assets, and other weapons from China and Russia to rebuild its aging military hardware.
The United States pulled out of the nuclear agreement in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy.
Hook, who was in Saudi Arabia on June 29, said lifting the ban would “only embolden” Tehran to spread greater instability and trigger a regional arms race.
“This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept. The council’s mandate is clear: to maintain international peace and security,” Hook added amid a display of weapons, including drones and missiles, that Saudi Arabia and the United States say Iran provided to Yemen’s Huthi rebels to carry out attacks on Saudi cities.
Faced with the UN arms embargo, Iran has long sought to develop ballistic missiles as a deterrent and has employed a relatively inexpensive strategy of asymmetric warfare and use of proxy forces.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that despite the embargo, Iran sought to provide weapons to terrorist groups.
“So what will happen if the embargo is lifted? Iran will become more ferocious and aggressive,” Jubeir said. “We urge the international community to extend the embargo on selling arms to Iran and on Iran’s ability to sell arms to the world.”