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Iran slams US efforts to reimpose arms embargo, UN sanctions

The remarks from the Iranian ambassador to the UN follow a US proposal to the UN to extend an arms embargo on Iran.

The reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran will allow the Islamic Republic to act without “constraint,” its ambassador to the UN warned Thursday. His comments follow US efforts to extend an arms embargo on Iran and US statements on reimposing UN sanctions should that fail.

“If that happens, Iran will not be under constraint as to what course of action it should take,” Majid Ravanchi told reporters, according to The Associated Press. “All options for Iran will be open.”

The arms embargo on Iran restricts Iran’s ability to obtain and transfer weapons and expires in October. The expiration is part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the United States walked away from in 2018.

On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft and the US envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, briefed the UN Security Council on a proposal to extend the embargo.

US officials say that allowing the embargo to expire would embolden Iran militarily.

“Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapon systems and become the arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday on the possibility of the embargo ending.

Russia and China have expressed opposition to an extension of the embargo. If the United States is unable to secure the extension, it may try to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran from before the 2015 nuclear deal.

Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States has the ability to “snap back sanctions.”

The United States is committed to an arms embargo on Iran regardless of UN action. “One way or another, we’re going to renew the arms embargo,” Hook, also a senior adviser to Pompeo, said at the Council of Foreign Relations last week.

The US statements about snapback sanctions is what prompted Ravanchi to speak out. The ambassador also said that putting the UN sanctions back in place would be “a very, very big mistake.” 

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he would be willing to talk with the United States if it gave an “apology” for damage caused to Iran, compensated Iran and reentered the nuclear deal. Sanctions the United States put in place on Iran after leaving the deal as part of its “maximum pressure” strategy have had devastating effects on the Iranian economy.

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