Comment by the Information and Press Department on Statements Made by U.S. Officials Regarding the Arms Embargo on Iran

March 3, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Military

Related Country: 

  • Russia
  • United States

We have taken note of media reports about the statements on extending the arms embargo on Iran made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. A graphic display of this resolve is the countdown clock posted by the US Department of State on its website to show the time left until October 18, 2020, the expiry date for the special procedure set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 for the transfer of seven categories of weapons and military equipment to and from Iran under the relevant UN Register.

It is gratifying that Washington still has some respect left for decisions made by the UN Security Council, which are defined in Article 25 of the UN Charter as binding for all countries, including the United States. This is probably why US speakers at the above mentioned hearings at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs appealed to the international community to extend the provisions of UNSC Resolution 2231, concerning  arms-related transfers to and from Iran. It is regrettable, however, that Washington continues to disregard the UN Security Council when it comes to US commitments and gross violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231.

Furthermore, we categorically reject the US desire to force the international community to use UNSC resolutions selectively. In our opinion, this is part of the notorious “rules-based order.” It is not the expiry of provisions of UNSC Resolution 2231 but the US approach that is “poor diplomatic practice,” as they say at the US Department of State.

UNSC Resolution 2231 does not mention “arms embargo.” On the contrary, it sets out an authorisation-based procedure for such transfers during a specified period of time. It is only a temporary measure, just as any other restrictions stipulated in UNSC Resolution 2231. Isolating and putting pressure on Iran or depriving it of a legitimate right to develop its nuclear sector for peaceful purposes or the right to self-defence was never a goal. Otherwise Tehran would have never signed the nuclear deal, which has been and remains an equitable agreement. In May 2018, the United States announced a unilateral decision to withdraw from the agreement, thereby entering the path of international violation. But this has not changed the essence of Resolution 2231.

The attempts to inflate the military threat allegedly posed by Iran are being accompanied by the favourite US foreign policy method of complaining about Russia and China’s actions and unsubstantiated claims that their cooperation with Iran will undoubtedly provoke an arms race in the Middle East and play into the hands of terrorists. As usual, the United States presents its multibillion dollar arms deliveries to the Middle East, which have turned it into a powder keg, as “just business” and stabilising actions.

It has been said in Congress that the United States would try to convince Russia and China not to veto the draft UNSC resolution on extending the arms embargo on Iran. But it is no use raising this matter in the Security Council. There are no grounds for this. The timeframe and conditions coordinated in 2015 are not subject to revision. It is ridiculous that the country which has violated the resolution is now proposing to extend its provisions, while at the same time trying to prevent other countries from honouring it.

We would like to warn the US Department of State against entertaining any illusions or misleading Congress. The US maximum pressure policy towards Iran has isolated the United States from the rest of the world, which continues to respect and comply with UNSC Resolution 2231. The area of US legislation is limited to the US national territory. Instead of dreaming of the endless extension of the arms embargo against Iran, Washington should mend its violations of the JCPOA and resume strict compliance with UNSC Resolution 2231 in order to regain the status of a responsible member of the international community, which is its duty as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.