Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Threatens Extending Arms Embargo Will Endanger Regional Security

United Nations Security Council members vote on the Iran resolution at the UN headquarters in New York on July 20, 2015. FILE PHOTO

President Hassan Rouhani’s spokesman says Tehran will show a "hard reaction" to the extension of the arms embargo against Iran due to end in October.

The spokesman said signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement and the UN Security Council members know that extending the arms embargo against Iran will entail "serious consequences not only for the nuclear agreement with Iran, but also for the security and stability of the region", Ali Rabiei told local media.

Iranian news agencies on Saturday May 2 have quoted Rabiei, the as saying that Tehran has sent a clear message in this regard to the United States and other world powers.

President Donald Trump’s administration started an initiative last week to convince the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Iran in place since 2015 when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) was signed.

The move announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was later welcomed by a majority of U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

Rabiei charged that U.S. foreign policy was "imbalanced" and "not thoughtful."

He said U.S. officials should know that international agreements are not their toys. "They have been playing with the world. One day they say they withdraw from the JCPOA and another day they want to exert their influence as initial participants in the nuclear agreement."

Rabiei was referring to the United States pull-out from the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018. Germany, UK, France, Russia and China remain parties to the agreement and Iran is hoping that they would prevent the extension of the arms embargo.

Addressing U.S. officials, Rabiei said: "You are making a mistake. Other countries are not your toys. They will remain committed to their obligations," The IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying on Saturday.

Rabiei added: "Not only Iran, but no other JCPOA member state will accept this. We believe the call for extending the arms embargo against Iran is yet another sign of the United States' arrogance and bullying as Washington is taking unilateral advantage of international treaties."

He accused the U.S. of following a "bullying approach" adding that "There is no room in the international arena for such behavior." Rabiei reiterated: "We believe that JCPOA member states and the permanent members of the UN Security Council will certainly oppose this act of law evasion by the United States."

"We will continue our consultations with our friends and other JCPOA members and based on our consultations with them, we know that they do not support this approach by the United States and will not accept it. A majority of JCPOA member states and UN Security Council members reject the U.S. view on this matter," the Iranian spokesman said.

Meanwhile, he stressed that "the United States cannot benefit from the rights stipulated in the JCPOA and UN Security Council resolution 2231 which was meant to protect the nuclear deal."

He said: "The United States has pulled out of the JCPOA, so it cannot use its provisions. They can express their views only if they return to the obligations under the agreement and lift the sanctions on Iran. Otherwise, their claims are not acceptable from a legal point of view."

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote in a tweet on Saturday that "The United States has long been the world's top military spender, arms seller, war initiator and instigator and conflict profiteer, yet Secretary Pompeo is apparently so worried about Iran – a huge US arms customer till 1979 – that he is pouring weapons all over the globe."

Based on the nuclear accord with Tehran, Iran is entitled to buy or sell weapons after October 2020. However, reporters in Washington say that the Trump administration has been lobbying at the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution that would bar other countries from selling weapons to Iran after October.

There are international concerns in the region and the world about Iran's regional military ambitions . Politicians and analysts suspect that if the arms embargo is lifted in October, Iran will purchase equipment to develop ballistic missiles to threaten its neighbors and countries beyond the region and will supply arms to terrorist groups such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and insurgents elsewhere in the region.