One of the most dangerous provisions of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is the expiration later this year of the United Nations arms embargo against Iran:
“It’s now just several months out where China, Russia, other countries from around the word can all sell significant conventional weapons systems to the Iranians in October of this year…Does anybody think that the nation that today is conducting terror campaigns by Lebanese Hezbollah or Iraqi Shia movements or firing military missiles into the air ought to be permitted to purchase conventional weapons systems in just a few months?”
U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has pointed out that even while the embargo prohibiting Iran from importing or exporting conventional weapons has been in effect, the Iranian regime has been repeatedly caught exporting weapons to its allies in the region, intensifying and prolonging sectarian conflicts.
“Letting the arms embargo expire would make it considerably easier for Iran to ship weapons to its allies in Syria, Hamas in Gaza, and Shiite militias in Iraq,” Special Representative Hook wrote in The Wall Street Journal. He also warned that Iran plans to improve the accuracy of its missiles and strengthen its ability to strike ships and shoot down aircraft.
Since 2007, the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to ban the export and restrict the import of arms for Iran. The United States recently drafted a new resolution that extends the prohibition on Iranian arms, and is working with all relevant parties to pass it. “Russia’s and China’s interests would be served by a ‘yes’ vote,” Special Representative Hook said. “They have more to gain from Mideast stability than from selling weapons to Iran for its sectarian wars.”
Mr. Hook warned that if this effort is vetoed, the United States retains the right to renew the arms embargo by other means. “Security Council 2231 [in 2015] lifted most U.N. sanctions but also created a legal mechanism for exclusive use by certain nations to snap sanctions back,” he said. “The arms embargo is one of these sanctions.”
“The Trump administration’s preferred strategy is for the Security Council to extend the arms embargo while the U.S. continues to apply maximum economic pressure and maintains deterrence against Iranian aggression,” said Special Representative Hook. “One way or another, the U.S. will ensure [the arms embargo] remains in place against the violent and revolutionary regime in Tehran.”