US Secy of State Pompeo warns of sanctions for any arms sales to Iran

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Oct 18, 2020, 08:30 PM(IST)

Mike Pompeo at UNSC Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The embargo on the sale of conventional arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from October 18 under the terms of the UN resolution that confirmed the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said that arms sales to Iran would breach UN resolutions and result in sanctions, after Tehran said the longstanding UN embargo on arms trade with the Islamic republic had expired.

"The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran," Pompeo said in a statement.

"Every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East and supports the fight against terrorism should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran."

The embargo on the sale of conventional arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from October 18 under the terms of the UN resolution that confirmed the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Washington had notably withdrawn from the deal, and has tried to maintain an indefinite freeze on arms sales.

Tehran, which could now purchase weapons from Russia, China and elsewhere, hailed the development as a diplomatic victory over its arch enemy the United States, 

"As of today, all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran... are all automatically terminated," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"As of today, the Islamic Republic may procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs," the ministry added in the statement on Twitter.

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear deal in 2018 and has unilaterally begun reimposing sanctions on Iran.

But Washington suffered a setback in August when it failed to win support from the United Nations Security Council to indefinitely extend the arms embargo.

Despite pulling out of the nuclear deal, the Trump administration insists it is still a "participant" and can therefore go ahead with reimposing sanctions. 

Washington has said it has decided to unilaterally reinstate virtually all of the UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the accord. 

But the US legal argument has been rejected by almost the entire Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear programme.

Iran urged the US to "abandon its destructive approach vis-a-vis Resolution 2231", adding that American attempts to "violate" the resolution had been "categorically rejected several times in the past three months by the Security Council".

Moscow said in September that it was ready to boost military cooperation with Tehran, while Beijing has also spoken of its willingness to sell arms to Iran after October 18.

Washington maintained it will seek to prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defence systems.

(with inputs)

Read in App