Iran Dismisses American Effort to Extend Arms Embargo

Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Abbas Mousavi. (SNN, May 2019)

Iran has called the U.S. effort to extend the arms embargo on Iran “illegitimate.”

In a statement on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said, “Iran is not seeking to exit the 2015 nuclear deal with six powers … America’s move is illegitimate and our reaction will be proportionate.”

The official was referring to a recent public effort by the U.S. to indefinitely extend the U.N. Security Council arms embargo on Iran, which, under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is due to expire in October. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told The New York Times last month, “We cannot allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to purchase conventional weapons in six months. President Obama should never have agreed to end the U.N. arms embargo.”

Mousavi added, “The United States is not a member of the nuclear deal anymore … Iran’s reaction to America’s illegal measures will be firm.”

In 2018, the U.S. announced that it had withdrawn from the JCPOA, a moved followed by the U.S. unilaterally re-imposing sanctions on the Iranian economy, particularly on oil exports. The following year, Iran announced steps it would take to reduce its own compliance with the agreement, accusing the other members of the JCPOA – especially the U.K., France, and Germany – of failing to shield their economic commitments under the deal from American pressure.

While Mousavi stated on Monday that Iran intends to remain in the JCPOA, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on his social media page over the weekend that the nuclear deal “will die forever” if the arms embargo is extended.

The New York Times has reported that the U.S. is circulating a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would see the indefinite extension of the embargo. It is not apparent whether the other members of the Security Council – Russia and China in particular, which have aimed to ink arms sales with Iran – would support the measure.

In an interview with Kommersant last month, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, called the U.S. moves “ludicrous,” adding that “Russia is doing and will continue doing its best to preserve the deal.”

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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