The United Nations Security Council will vote next week on a U.S. bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, despite the warnings of some diplomats that the measure lacks support.
Speaking to reporters, Pompeo said that one way or another the Trump administration would make sure the UN embargo is extended and said he was confident the effort would succeed. But he offered no specifics on how he expects this to be achieved.
The United States is pushing ahead with its bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran by way of a second draft UN Security Council resolution, despite what some diplomats say is a lack of enthusiasm for such a move among its 15 members.
The U.S.-drafted resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, which Moscow and Beijing have signaled they will do. Some diplomats question whether Washington can even secure those nine, however.
"In the last handful of months, we've been working diligently to get the three nations that have the largest nuclear capabilities - the United States, Russia and China - to have strategic dialogue about how we move forward together to decrease the risk to the world," Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday
"We've made progress with the Russians; we've had two good gatherings. I hope we'll have one before too long, and we're hopeful that the Chinese will choose to participate," he added.
“We have tabled a resolution that we think accomplishes what we think needs to be accomplished,” U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told the Aspen Security Forum, held virtually, on Wednesday.
“The easy way is to do a rollover of the arms embargo. It’s not difficult, there’s all the reasons in the world to do it. But we will do this one way or another.”
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Speaking in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China opposed the U.S. proposal.
The arms embargo on Iran is currently set to end on October 18 under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Washington quit in 2018.
The second draft circulated by Washington is virtually unchanged from the first text shared with the council in June.
If the United States is unsuccessful in extending the embargo, it has threatened to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran under a process agreed in the 2015 deal.
Such a move would kill the deal, touted as a way to suspend Tehran’s suspected drive to develop nuclear weapons. Washington argues it can trigger the sanctions because a Security Council resolution still names it as a participant.
Iran has breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal and Washington’s reimposition of sanctions.
“For as long as Iran is allowed to enrich, we’re going to be having this discussion - how close is Iran to a nuclear breakout? ... We need to restore the UN Security Council standard of no enrichment,” Hook said.
Iran denies it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb.
Diplomats say Washington would face a tough, messy battle if it tries to trigger a return to sanctions.