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Pompeo Says UN Should Heed A Request By GCC To Extend Iran Arms Embargo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, DC, U.S. July 30, 2020.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Middle Eastern countries want the renewal of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran and the Security Council should heed their request.

Pompeo tweeted his call on the Security Council hours after six Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council sent a letter to the UN on August 9 asking for the arms embargo to be extended beyond October.

Based on a 2015 UN resolution the arms embargo will expire this year and the U.S. has been scrambling to gain diplomatic support for its extension. Washington argues that if Iran is allowed to buy and sell conventional weapons it will destabilize the region, which already suffers from several armed conflicts.

Pompeo said in his tweet that the United States will introduce a resolution “this week to extend the embargo after years of diplomacy. The Council must choose between arming terrorists or standing by the Gulf”.

Reports indicate the Security Council is set to discuss the U.S. resolution on Tuesday, August 11. Russia and China have expressed their opposition to extending the embargo and have said they’ll veto the resolution.

Washington has threatened to revert to “snapback” of all previous international sanctions against Iran if the Council does not extend the arms embargo. “Snapback” is a mechanism set in the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that would allow any of its signatories to demand the return of sanctions. However, the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and other signatories have questioned if Washington can still use the mechanism.

Iran has also reacted to the GCC letter, saying its governing body “has been influenced by the wrong and destructive policies and actions of some of its members”. This can be interpreted as an attack primarily on Saudi Arabia; Iran arch-rival Arab state.