US says if no arms embargo on Iran it will seek UN sanctions

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for a press conference at the State Department, Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Washington. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

TANZANIA – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to seek to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran if the U.N. Security Council does not approve a resolution that would indefinitely extend the arms embargo on Tehran, which is set to expire in October.

Pompeo told a news conference at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday that without extending the arms embargo, “Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapons systems and become an arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world. This is unacceptable.”

He spoke ahead of a closed video briefing to Security Council members Wednesday afternoon on the U.S. draft resolution to maintain the arms embargo by U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have escalated since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers in 2018 and reimposed crippling U.S. sanctions.

A year ago, the U.S. sent thousands more troops, long-range bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Middle East in response to what it called a growing threat of Iranian attacks on U.S. interests in the region.

The five other powers that signed the nuclear deal — Russia, China, UK, France and Germany — remain committed to it, saying the agreement is key to continuing inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Lifting the arms embargo is part of the 2015 Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear agreement. The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the resolution's implementation on June 30.

Calling Iran “the leading state sponsor of terror,” Pompeo said the U.S. focus is to work with the Security Council to pass the resolution.