U.S. Pushes New Resolution to Extend Iran Arms Embargo

The United Nations headquarters in New York / Getty Images
August 11, 2020

The United States on Tuesday introduced a new draft resolution to indefinitely extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran that is tailored to entice European allies to back the effort, according to senior Trump administration officials.

The new resolution is aimed at streamlining the language of the embargo and removing additions that had drawn opposition from European nations, as well as Russia and China—which have the power to unilaterally veto the draft at the United Nations Security Council. The new resolution is just four paragraphs long and no longer mandates spot inspections of Iranian imports or implements new sanctions on the country.

The Trump administration has been working for months to ensure the arms embargo is extended beyond its mid-October expiration date. If the United States fails to pass the extension language at the U.N. it could invoke what is known as snapback, or a full reimposition of all economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal signed during the Obama administration.

The Trump administration maintains that if the embargo is permitted to expire, adversarial regimes such as Russia and China will be free to sell Iran arms, munitions, and other advanced military equipment.

"The draft we have put forward today takes [Security] Council views into account and simply does what everyone knows should be done—extend the arms embargo to prevent Iran from freely buying and selling conventional weapons," U.N. ambassador Kelly Craft said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "It is only common sense that the world’s number one state sponsor of terror not be given the means of unleashing even greater harm on the world."

U.S. officials familiar with the new draft language said it was shortened to get U.N. member nations to focus on extending the embargo. The U.S. draft now includes language that is only meant to indefinitely extend the arms ban. This approach will force European nations to make a clear choice about arming Iran, these officials said.

The language is similar to past U.N. versions of the embargo that easily won support from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Still, many nations have fought against the extension due to lingering anger over President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the landmark nuclear agreement.

There is not yet a date set for the Security Council to vote on the resolution.

Published under: Iran , Sanctions