Zarif says UN will vote down US proposal on Iran arms embargo

Iran's top diplomat expressed doubt that the United States' last-minute efforts at the UN Security Council will succeed in extending an arms embargo against Iran.

al-monitor Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images.

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us-iranian conflict, unsc, arms sales, arms embargo, jcpoa, iran nuclear deal, mohammad javad zarif

Aug 12, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the contentious US proposal to extend an arms embargo against Tehran will not be passed by the UN Security Council. The embargo is expected to expire in October under UN Resolution 2231 and the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Surrounded by mask-clad reporters in Tehran, Zarif once again argued that the US proposal runs counter to international law and called the attempt to get it ratified at the council a “mischievous plot” that disrespects the other council members.

The United States has been facing an uphill battle at the council, facing resistance most notably from Russia and China, two permanent members that maintain closer ties with Tehran than the other JCPOA signatories. Tehran has clearly been hoping that the two allies will use their veto power at a vote expected to be held on Friday.

Earlier on Tuesday, US diplomats revised the proposal. The embargo “shall continue to apply until the Security Council decides otherwise,” according to the revised draft. Shortened to four paragraphs from an original 35, the new version has removed some provisions, including inspections on “reasonable grounds” of all Iranian cargo entering the territories of UN members states. It does, however, retain the basic argument that the extension is meant to “prevent Iran from freely buying and selling conventional weapons.”

Asked about unconfirmed reports that France and the United Kingdom are proposing to the United States a partial removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Zarif said Iran had not been informed of such a move and that any such plan would not be welcome in Tehran if it introduces changes to the JCPOA. Iran’s top diplomat repeated the official rejection of offers to renegotiate the 2015 accord from US President Donald Trump, who withdrew the United States from it in May 2018.

“He has been given wrong advice,” Zarif said of the US leader, claiming that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy has been the “wrong” path. “They need to return to the deal, compensate the damage inflicted upon the Iranian nation and give up their malicious policies in the region,” he said, enumerating Iran’s conditions for rapprochement with its arch-enemy.

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