The Islamic Republic wants an “endless war” in Yemen, on Saudi Arabia’s southern flank, U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook told reporters in during his visit to London on Wednesday, where he is lobbying for the extension of UN’s arms embargo against Iran.
The internationally enforced embargo ends in October, which would allow Tehran to buy and sell weapons systems including warplanes, missiles, tanks and heavy artillery. The United States says this will destabilize the Middle East, where Iran is involved in several conflicts.
“Nobody believes that Iran should be able to buy or sell conventional weapons like fighter jets, battle tanks, large caliber artillery systems, warships and various kinds of missiles,” Hook said.
President Donald Trump pulled out of the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, arguing that its sunset clauses would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons and demanded an end to Tehran’s aggressive foreign and military policies in the region, as well as limits on its missile program.
Iran denies any intention to build nuclear weapons and says its ballistic missile program is for self-defense. But many regional countries including Persian Gulf Arab states, Israel, the United States and to an extent European powers question Iran’s intentions.
“The question in front of the international community is not whether the international arms embargo should be extended, but how and when,” Hook reiterated in London.
Russia and China have made clear they will not support an extension of the arms embargo but Washington continues to strongly lobby UM Security Council members.
Europe has its own arms embargo against Iran, which will continue until 2023. “It’s great that Europe has these sanctions in place, but what we need is a global embargo, and if you do not have a global embargo it allows Iran to purchase these weapons,” Hook said.