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Brian Hook Says Arms Embargo Against Iran To Be Extended 'One Way Or Other'

Brian Hook, former U.S. envoy to Iran, listens to White House adviser Jared Kushner speak during a press briefing about the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at White House in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Brian Hook, the outgoing U.S. State Department Special Representative for Iran, said in a video press conference on Thursday that the United States is going to ensure that the arms embargo on Iran is extended "one way or the other".

The U.S. sent a revised version of the Iran arms embargo to the members of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, with the embargo previously set to expire on October 18.

The proposed resolution is "a clean rollover of the existing arms embargo the Security Council put in place thirteen years ago [in 2007], and has voted to keep it in place several times since," Hook told reporters, adding, "Our proposal's main theme is an arms embargo for an indefinite period.”

Reuters reported on Thursday that the Security Council began voting on the proposed resolution, which is opposed by the veto-holding nations Russia and China. The result will be announced at a meeting on Friday, diplomats said.

"Letting the arms embargo expire was a big deficiency of the Iran nuclear deal,” Hook said, calling the new proposal "a compromise text" with the U.S. that includes provisions supported by all permanent members of the council. “Its expiration should never have been based on an artificial timeline of five years. It was an irresponsible concession.”

Should the proposed resolution fail to pass, the United States has threatened to invoke the “trigger mechanism” included in the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which would reinstate all sanctions on Iran if the embargo is lifted.

Hook also urged Security Council members to vote for the extension out of respect for the Middle East nations that "live in Iran's dark shadow,” saying, “Abstaining may carry a certain appeal for those who want to have it both ways, to express concern without addressing the concern. But abstentions will not be forgotten by nations in the region who are counting on council members to vote yes.”