The international conventional arms embargo imposed on Iran 13 years ago by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), is set to come to an end this Sunday.
Consequently, Iran will be able to engage in the trade of conventional arms and military equipment once again.
The arms embargo ends as part of Resolution 2231 of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers that gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for a hold on its nuclear program.
However, the Trump administration was unhappy with the nuclear deal and unilaterally withdrew from it in May 2018.
President Donald Trump has argued it was “the worst deal ever” and subsequently unleashed harsh economic sanctions on Iran.
In mid-August, the U.S. introduced a resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo, which was resoundingly rejected by the UNSC.
Only the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the resolution, while 11 members of the 15-member body, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, together known as the E3, abstained. Russia and China opposed the extension.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the UNSC members’ decision referring to it as “inexcusable” and lamented that “Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires.”
In September, the U.S. unilaterally announced it had reinstated all U.N. sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal, a move which would automatically extend the arms embargo as well.
However, the overwhelming majority of UNSC members rejected the U.S.’s move, claiming it has no legal basis.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also told the council he would not take any action on the U.S. declaration.
However, Pompeo has said the U.S. is prepared to use its domestic authorities to impose consequences on U.N. member states that fail to adhere to its sanctions.
Following the rejection of the U.S. bid by UNSC, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: “Today will be a memorable day in the history of our country’s diplomacy,” and congratulated world powers in standing up to U.S. unilateralism.
He also warned that Iran would have a “decisive response” if the U.S. tries to “bully” other nations into adhering to its reinstatement of U.S. sanctions.
According to a press report, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a news conference in Tehran, the arms embargo will end on October 18, despite U.S. efforts to block it.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown once more that the U.S. is not so much of a superpower as it likes to state,” he told reports, adding the end of the arms embargo marks a “historic defeat” for the U.S.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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