US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend urged the United Nations Security Council to extend the international arms embargo on Iran, set to expire in October.
In a tweet on Saturday, Pompeo asserted that lifting the sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear activities and support of global terrorism may give rise to violence in the Middle East.
“The arms embargo on Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terror – expires six months from today. The UN Security Council (UNSC) must extend the embargo before Iran’s violence escalates and they start a new arms race in the Middle East. The clock is ticking,” Pompeo tweeted.
“In the last year, Iran fired ballistic missiles at its neighbors, mined and captured oil tankers, smuggled weapons into conflict zones, and shot down a civilian passenger jet. We can’t risk Iran buying more advanced weapons and transferring their arsenal to irresponsible actors.”
Last month, Pompeo had tabled a similar demand, saying, “As we approach this big demarcation that occurs in October, the very missiles that put American lives at risk in Iraq, and the very missiles that fell on Saudi Aramco, can be lawfully sold by China or Russia to Iran.”
The arms embargo on the ayatollahs’ regime is to expire in six months, as it will reach its five-year mark, as set in the 2015 nuclear deal seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told local media that the Islamic Republic was “looking forward” to the lifting of the arms embargo, as it would allow it to regain access to the international arms market in which it once was a leading player.
“When the embargo is lifted we can easily buy and sell weapons. This is one of those important impacts of the [nuclear] agreement,” he said late last year.
Russia, an ally of Iran that has veto power in the Security Council, has already announced that it would not support extending the arms embargo.