On Tuesday, the UN Security Council held a fierce discussion on extending the arms embargo against Iran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who participated in the meeting, threatened with an apocalypse if he was withdrawn. Moscow and Beijing, he said, were the first to suffer from instability in the Middle East. Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya called Washington’s position a utopia, while other members of the Security Council made it clear that despite concerns about Iran, they do not support the tightening of sanctions against it.
Formally, the Permanent Representatives of the Six countries gathered – once again by video link – to discuss the report of UN Secretary General Antoni Guterres that the missiles launched last year towards oil facilities and the international airport in Saudi Arabia may have been Iranian. True, excerpts from the report were published back in June, so the meeting participants did not learn anything new.
As a result, the main topic of the meeting was the question of the attitude of the Security Council members towards the US draft resolution on the extension of the hard arms embargo against Iran.
The current arms regime for Tehran expires on October 18. The date of voting on the new resolution has not yet been determined, but Russia and China have made it clear in advance that they will block the document for authorship of the United States. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally decided to convince members of the UN Security Council of the threat emanating from Tehran.
He was also answered by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif, who participated in the meeting.
«The international community and the UN Security Council are facing an important choice: do we maintain respect for the rule of law, or do we return to the law of the jungle and surrender to the whims of a criminal hooligan? ” – He turned to his colleagues.
The Iranian minister, obviously, had in mind the US intention to actually review the “nuclear deal” concluded by Tehran in 2015 with five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Iranian Foreign Minister urged not to undermine Security Council resolution 2231 and hold the US accountable for “their erroneous actions”. In his opinion, Washington should “fully compensate the Iranian people for the damage” that he inflicted with his sanctions against Tehran.
Permit regime for arms supplies to Iran was introduced by UN Security Council resolution 2231, which secured the Iranian nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, JCPOA). It is called the “arms embargo” because a country that wants to sell weapons to Tehran can do this on paper by applying for permission to the Security Council – but in practice it is clear in advance that Washington will not allow this. So no one even made such an attempt. In May 2018, the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and returned sanctions against Iran. Now Washington nonetheless intends to do everything possible so that the restrictions on the supply of arms remain in force. The United States does not hide the fact that in the event of a draft document failure, “Plan B” remains: to use the dispute settlement mechanism contained in resolution 2231 (hypothetically, this may lead to the restoration of all international sanctions previously applied to Iran). Against such a decision, the remaining participants of the JCPOA spoke in advance.
“If Iran does not pose a threat to peace, which requires collective action, then I do not know what it represents. You have to take this threat seriously, ”said Mike Pompeo, addressing members of the Security Council. He noted that Iran’s neighbors in the region, from Israel to the Arab Gulf states, unanimously demand an extension of the arms embargo against Iran and the UN Security Council should heed them.
According to Mr. Pompeo, if the UN Security Council does not extend the embargo, then Iran will be able to buy Russian combat aircraft and get a chance to strike far beyond its territory. For example, to threaten Riyadh, Delhi, Rome and Warsaw. He also expressed concern about the prospect of expanding the Iranian submarine fleet and the development of the Iranian missile program: this, he said, threatens international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Iran will be able to acquire weapons for its allies in the Middle East – the Palestinian Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Husite movement Ansar Allah, as well as “become an uncontrolled supplier of weapons” to Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan. However, the US Secretary of State noted that Iran is already violating the arms embargo.
«Iran will hold the sword of Damocles over the economic stability of the Middle East, jeopardizing countries such as Russia and China, which rely on stable energy prices, “continued Mike Pompeo, trying to convince those present at the meeting that lifting the arms embargo would shock the oil market.
Other participants in the meeting expressed concerns about Iran’s missile program, including UN Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary Di Carlo and European Security Council members. However, as Ms. Di Carlo emphasized, “a nuclear deal is critical to regional and international security. “Therefore, it is regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt,” she said. However, she urged Tehran to comply with the JCPOA.
Фото: US State Department / AFP
Great Britain, France and Germany also followed her example, whose representatives in their speeches have repeatedly emphasized that they act as a united front.
They expressed concern that lifting the arms embargo on Iran would have serious consequences for regional security and stability. It was condemned by the European troika and Tehran’s retaliatory actions to curtail part of its obligations under the JCPOA. “It is unfortunate that the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and, having done so, violated international law. But we are very concerned that Iran is now taking steps backing away from the JCPOA. When one country rides “red” in violation of the law, it does not justify another country, ”said Christopher Heusgen, German Ambassador to the United Nations.
At the same time, representatives of European countries participating in the UN Security Council said they would not support US attempts to return sanctions – especially after leaving the JCPOA.
“We are ready to discuss with the participants in the JCPOA and the UN Security Council how best to act when the embargo is lifted,” supported Mr. Heusgen, Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, who spoke before him. French Permanent Representative Nicolas de Riviere also said on behalf of the three countries that they “will not support unilateral proposals leading to the resumption of sanctions.”
Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya called US sanctions on Iran’s relations a “policy of maximum strangulation”. “The task is to achieve a regime change or create a situation where Iran literally cannot breathe. It’s like putting someone on the throat, ”he said. His quote was an allusion to the death of African-American George Floyd, whose death caused a wave of protests around the world.
The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation stressed that Moscow will continue to resist US attempts to use the UN Security Council to pursue a policy of maximum pressure on Iran.
In his opinion, Washington provokes Tehran in order to wait for its reaction and thereby get a reason to introduce new sanctions.
Vasily Nebenzya also recalled the words of the US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook – he recently said that if Russia and China continue to “seek anti-utopia” and block the American draft resolution, they will be isolated. “I don’t know what he meant,” said the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation. “Maybe he just finished reading George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, or one of the Russian science fiction writers, who, by the way, have a lot. But once such a statement has been made, I can say that Russia is engaged in dystopia, because the United States is engaged in utopia. From the first day we said that the draft US resolution on the extension of the embargo is a utopia, it cannot be the basis for any negotiations. “