- Iran has threatened to reconsider its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if the UN does not lift its arms embargo.
- UN investigation into an attack on Saudi oil facilities showed that Yemeni Houthis had used weapons of "Iranian origin"
- Despite withdrawing from the Nuclear Deal, the US wants Iran sanctions extended.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Sunday, Brian Hook, the US State Department’s special envoy for Iran, stressed the importance of extending the UN’s arms embargo on Iran. He said the world should not care about Iran’s threats to retaliate if the embargo is extended.
Iran has threatened to reconsider its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if the UN does not lift its arms embargo. Hook spoke in an interview in Abu Dhabi.
“If we play by Iran’s rules, Iran wins,” Hook said. “It is a mafia tactic where people are intimidated into accepting a certain kind of behavior for fear of something far worse.” He called the expulsion of IAEA inspectors from Iran an option for Iran to escalate the crisis.
The Security Council’s arms embargo against the Islamic Republic expires on October 18 of this year. The sanctions were imposed in 2010, in response to Iran’s secrecy over its nuclear program. Concerned about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program, the Security Council banned any arms trade with Iran.
Following the agreement between Iran and the world powers on the country’s nuclear program, Resolution 22331 passed, which stipulates that Iran’s arms embargo must end no later than five years after the adoption by the UN Security Council. However, the US government, which withdrew unilaterally in 2018, stressed that the Islamic Republic’s arms embargo should not be lifted.
“If we let it expire, you can be certain that what Iran has been doing in the dark, it will do in broad daylight and then some,” he told the AP. He said Iran’s arms embargo prevents the country from becoming an arms dealer for the rebellious regimes and terrorist organizations.
Iran supports the Assad regime in Syria and the Shiite group, Hezbollah, in Lebanon. The United States and its allies in the Middle East are also concerned about Iran’s support for Shiite militant groups in Iraq and Yemen, and the spread of its influence in the region.
“We have put this regime through our strategy on the horns of a dilemma,” Hook said. “They have to choose between guns in Damascus or butter in Tehran.”
Two weeks ago, a UN investigation into an attack on Saudi oil facilities showed that Yemeni Houthis had used weapons of “Iranian origin,” Reuters reported two weeks ago. The Associated Press reports that Iran’s representative to the United Nations has not yet responded to Hook’s remarks.
“I don’t think anyone believes that Iran’s behavior merits loosening restrictions on their ability to move weapons,” Hook said.
Arms Sanctions Against Iran to be Extended
Following the adoption of a proposed resolution by Germany, Britain, and France— the European Union’s signatories to the IAEA Board of Governors— the three countries issued a statement expressing concern over the lifting of arms sanctions against Iran in October, and calling for continued sanctions until 2023.
The three main European countries also stressed their commitment to the UN Security Council. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and his British and French counterparts, said the lifting of sanctions banning the sale of conventional weapons to Iran would have “severe effects on regional security and stability.”
The lifting of the sanctions phase is enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which was adopted following the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The United States, which withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, wants continued sanctions against Iran.