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Pompeo 'Confident' Iran Arms Embargo Will Be Extended

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks the press at the State Department in Washington, May 20, 2020.

U.S. Secretary of State says he is confident that the United Nations arms embargo against the Islamic Republic of Iran set to expire in October will be extended.

Washington will push for the extension, and if failed, it will use its diplomatic muscle to prevent Iran’s arms trading, Mike Pompeo asserted on Monday, June 1.

In an interview with researchers at a conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), on Monday, June 1, in Washington, Mike Pompeo reiterated that the United States has a much larger plan to change the Islamic Republic's behavior than the current sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the US has put all its resources in place to deter Iranian aggression.

"The most obvious thing that people see us do is the sanctions that we put in place, but the campaign is much greater than that. We've put resources in place to deter Iranian aggression on the ground. We've put diplomatic power behind uniting the world in a number of ways", Pompeo noted.

Referring to Germany's recent decision to designate the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist entity, Pompeo insisted that it was Washington that persuaded Berlin to do so.

"With respect to Iran's terrorism, we convinced the Germans just last month to designate Hezbollah. We're working with partners all around the world to continue to constrain Iran's capacity to ultimately get a nuclear weapon and to limit their capabilities on missiles and terrorism as well", Pompeo said, adding that President Donald Trump administration is hopeful to achieve an international consensus against the Islamic Republic.

However, he immediately stressed, "We'd love to extend the prohibition on arms sales to Iran by agreement of all of the parties, all of the parties to the participants in [the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution] 2231. In the event that doesn't happen, we're going to use our diplomatic capability to prevent it from happening. It's too important."

Based on the UNSCR 2231, the arms embargo against the clergy-dominated Iran ends on October 18, and Tehran will be allowed to buy and sell conventional arms.

Should that happen, Pompeo believes Beijing and Moscow are set to sell arms and military equipment to Tehran.

"They're lining up. The Chinese will be able to sell tanks to Iran. I'm confident looking to figure out how they can make money from that. We have a plan that we believe will successfully prevent that from happening", Secretary Pompeo promised.

Furthermore, he repeated that Washington is hopeful to unite the world against the Islamic Republic.

"We are hopeful that the United Kingdom and other parties to the JCPOA will recognize the threat from the expiration of the arms embargo that occurs just, goodness, a few months from now and themselves use their rights to make sure that doesn't happen," Pompeo said.

In recent months, U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed concern over the lifting of UN arms embargoes on Iran, saying the United States would prevent this.

One of the ways Washington is trying to make it possible to extend the arms embargo is through the "trigger mechanism" under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with five permanent members of the UNSC, China, France, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, along with Germany.

The JCPOA's trigger mechanism is devised to resolve disputes over the deal. The mechanism stipulates that if Iran does not fulfill its obligations, the other parties to the deal can return the case to the United Nations Security Council and resume sanctions against Tehran.

However, Iran, China, and Russia argue that, since the United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, it is no longer a member of the deal and could not activate the trigger mechanism. So far, the European Union (EU) has taken a similar stance, saying the United States dropped the JCPOA in May 2018, and it is no longer a party to it.

At the same time, the Secretary of the powerful Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, warned that if Tehran's arms embargo by the UN Security Council is extended, Iran's nuclear deal with world powers (JCPOA or its Persian acronym Barjam) will "die for good".