Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. plans to hold a United Nations Security Council vote next week in its effort to extend the UN’s arms embargo against Iran.
“There are nations lining up to sell weapons that will destabilize the Middle East,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department on Wednesday. “We’re using every diplomatic tool we have in the toolkit.”
The U.S. circulated a draft resolution Tuesday that seeks to stop all sales of weapons to and from Iran, according to a copy of the text seen by Bloomberg News. The current ban on arms deals with Iran is set to expire in October under terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018, but the U.S. is pushing council members to extend the embargo indefinitely.
Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, acknowledged Tuesday that Russia and China are likely to veto any resolution. That could spell a crisis at the world body, with Craft and Pompeo threatening to invoke a “snapback” provision in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to reimpose all UN sanctions against Tehran.
“We are deeply aware that snapback is an option for the United States,” Pompeo said on Wednesday.
The U.S. maintains it can reimpose the sanctions as one of the original participants of the deal, a claim allies and rivals have disputed.
“The strategy in a perfect world will always be to have them abstain and obviously not veto” the U.S. resolution, Craft said of Russia and China in an online appearance this week at the annual Aspen Security Forum. “However, let’s be realistic here. Right now the strategy is working with other members of the Security Council” to put China and Russia “in a corner and shine a light on them.”
Several diplomats say that France, Germany, the U.K., Russia and China are trying to negotiate a solution that might prevent the U.S. from taking such a step, but that no clear compromise has emerged.
— With assistance by Nick Wadhams
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