The efforts of three European powers to convince China and Russia to agree to an extension of the UN arms embargo against Iran have reportedly not succeeded so far as the U.N. Security Council prepares to vote on a U.S. resolution to extend the embargo.
A Chinese diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted by Reuters as saying that extending the embargo "in whatever form, lacks legal basis" and will undermine efforts to preserve the nuclear deal, adding that there is “no chance” the U.S. text will be adopted.
According to Reuters, diplomats at the U.N. say there is little support for the current U.S. text and doubt that the U.S. will even be able to secure the nine votes out of the fifteen that is required to force Russia and China to use their right of veto.
Kelly Craft, the U.S. envoy to the U.N. has charged that Russia and China are waiting for the embargo to end to sell arms to Iran.
On the basis of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers in 2015, the embargo will expire in October. The deal was thought to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief but in 2018 President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reintroduced U.S. sanctions on Iran.
U.S. sanctions have hugely affected the Iranian economy and made the sales of its oil nearly impossible. Iran has also reversed some of the steps it had taken earlier to reassure the international community that it was not seeking nuclear weapons in protest to the reintroduction of the U.S. sanctions.
The United States has threatened to use a provision in the agreement – the snapback mechanism -- to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions and a complete suspension of all enrichment activities if the Security Council does not agree to the U.S. call for an extension of the embargo.
Iran, on the other hand, has threatened to leave the deal and abandon all the limitations that it imposed on its nuclear program.