- Pompeo told reporters on Thursday that the arms embargo on Iran, which expires on October 18th, was necessary.
- Pompeo said Washington has helped strengthen the defense capabilities of Arab countries in the region in various ways to counter the Iranian threat.
- Pompeo also rejected a UN human rights expert's view that the assassination of former Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani was "illegal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington has cooperated with its Arab allies in various ways to counter the growing threat of Iranian missiles. He noted that the United States is committed to helping secure the Gulf Arab states against Iran’s growing missile capability.
Pompeo told reporters on Thursday that the arms embargo on Iran, which expires on October 18th, was necessary, and that stability in the Middle East would be jeopardized if the sanctions were not extended.
This week, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy said that Iran had set up “floating missile-carrying cities” on its southern shores, and that all ships in the Strait of Hormuz were in Iran’s range. Alireza Tangsiri called Iran’s military presence in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman a “nightmare for the enemies.”
At a news conference, Pompeo called Iran’s missile program a violation of a UN resolution and a “vital threat” that would necessitate an arms embargo. Emphasizing the “unfortunate danger” posed by Iran’s armaments to the region, he added that the issue is so important that the world must unite to extend sanctions, which will expire in just a few months.
Pompeo said Washington has helped strengthen the defense capabilities of Arab countries in the region in various ways to counter the Iranian threat. One of these has been to push for an extension of Iran’s arms embargo, and the other to sell arms to them. There are other ways which, according to Pompeo, cannot be made public.
Pompeo stressed that Iran’s goal is to increase its missile capability to the point where it can “defeat missile defenses throughout the region and attack places beyond its neighborhood.” In a report released in June, the United Nations called Iran a source of long-range missiles that attacked Saudi Arabia last September.
Secretary Pompeo also referred to Iran’s launch of a satellite, saying it was peaceful, but the world was smarter than not knowing that the program was deeply linked to “their desire to have a long-range missile system.”
On Wednesday, Pompeo announced the seizure of a ship carrying Iranian weapons to Yemeni Houthi militants, and called for an arms embargo on Iran to maintain security in the region. The United States has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to extend Iran’s arms embargo. Russia and China, which are veto-wielding powers on the Security Council, have opposed sanctions on Iran.
Pompeo Denies Killing Soleimani “Illegal”
“We reject the UN Special Rapporteur’s spurious report on targeted killings through armed drones in the case of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The United States has been transparent regarding the international law basis for the strike and will always act to protect America.”
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings and Extrajudicial Executions Anis Kalamar, in a report on July 7, described the US drone strike on a vehicle carrying Soleimani, which killed him and nine others, as “illegal.”
Anis Kalamar presented her report on the killing of Qassem Soleimani to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday. The United States also issued a statement Thursday evening contradicting the report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. The statement added that the attack was a natural extension of the United States’ right to self-defense.