Intel: Trump’s UN ambassador accuses Iran of violating arms embargo

al-monitor Kelly Craft (C, front), the US permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at UN headquarters in New York, Feb. 28, 2020.  Photo by Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images.

May 21, 2020

The US ambassador to the United Nations accused Iran of violating an international arms embargo as part of President Donald Trump’s push to persuade the Security Council to extend the restrictions, which are set to expire in October as the first sunset provision under the nuclear deal.

“It is vitally important that people understand that they have not followed this embargo, and we have at every turn proof that they are not following it,” Ambassador Kelly Craft said in an interview with the conservative Hudson Institute today.

Why it matters: A Defense Intelligence Agency report from last year notes that Iran has routinely violated the 2007 embargo by exporting military equipment across the globe. While a February Congressional Research Service report assesses that the arms embargo has “arguably not been effective” in curtailing Iranian military exports, it also notes that its “ban on selling arms to Iran apparently has been effective.”

What’s next: Iran has said that Russia and China are interested in selling it combat aircraft once the embargo expires. For their part, Russia and China have threatened to veto any embargo extension at the United Nations. Should they do so, the Trump administration has threatened to retaliate by activating a mechanism to snap back UN sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the nuclear deal. However, it remains unclear whether the Trump administration has the authority to do so given its 2018 withdrawal from the nuclear accord.

Know more: Bryant Harris lays out how the Trump administration is citing Washington’s status as a participation in the 2015 nuclear deal to justify invoking Iran snapback sanctions at the United Nations if its gambit to extend the arms embargo fails.  

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