The United Nations Security Council has categorically rejected a US offer to extend a global arms embargo against Iran, with Russian President Vladimir Putin proposing a summit of world leaders to avoid “confrontation” over a threat by Washington from trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Tehran.
In Friday’s Security Council vote, Washington won the support of only the Dominican Republic for its resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo against Iran, leaving it well short of the nine “yes” votes. minimum required for adoption.
Eleven members of the 15-member body, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. abstained.
Russia and China strongly opposed the extension of the 13-year ban, which was due to expire on Oct. 18 under a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers. They didn’t need to use their veto.
Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, announced the defeat of the resolution before a very brief virtual board meeting to reveal the vote.
“The failure of the Security Council to act decisively to defend international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement.
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Israel and the six Gulf Arab countries that have backed the extension “know Iran will spread even more chaos and destruction if the embargo expires,” Pompeo said, “but the Security Council chose to ignore them “.
Zhang Jun, Chinese ambassador to the UN, said in a statement that the result “shows once again that unilateralism receives no support and that intimidation will fail.”
Washington could now follow through on a threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions against Iran using a provision of the nuclear deal, known as the snapback, even if US President Donald Trump unilaterally had abandoned the deal in 2018. On Thursday, the United States distributed to council members a six-page memo explaining why Washington remains a participant “in the nuclear deal and still has the right to use the provision” snap back “.
In a statement after the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said, “In the coming days, the United States will honor this pledge to do nothing to extend the arms embargo. “
‘The question is urgent’
Kristen Saloomey of Al Jazeera, New York, said the loss of the United States on Friday was no surprise.
“But it’s a surprise that the US offer has failed so miserably,” she said.
“Any party to the nuclear deal could trigger the ‘rollback’ clause if Iran is found to be in violation of the deal. But Russia and China say the US withdrawal from the deal two years ago means it has lost its right to do so. . Other board members seem to agree, ”she said.
“Europeans have expressed doubts about the entry of conventional weapons into Iran. But at the end of the day, they say their concern about a nuclear weapon is paramount. ”
As part of the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief and other benefits. Following the US withdrawal and the imposition of unilateral sanctions, Tehran has already reduced compliance with parts of the agreement. Diplomats said triggering the “take-back” clause would further jeopardize the fragile deal as Iran would lose a major incentive to limit its nuclear activities.
Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has warned Washington against any attempt to bring about a return of sanctions.
“The imposition of sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be strictly respected by Iran and our options are not limited. And the United States and any entity that might aid him or accept his illegal behavior will bear full responsibility, ”he said in a statement.
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Some analysts said they suspected Washington had proposed a radical draft on purpose, knowing council members would not be able to agree to it.
“The point is that everyone at the UN believes that [resolution] is just a prelude to an American effort to trigger a recovery and derail the Iran nuclear deal, ”Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, told AFP news agency.
While voting on the US draft resolution was underway, Russia said Putin called for a meeting of the leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council with Germany and Iran to avoid an escalation in the face of the attempts. Americans to extend the Iranian arms embargo.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, Putin said “the matter is urgent,” adding that the purpose of the videoconference would be “to outline measures to avoid the confrontation and exacerbation of the situation in the Security Council of the United States. ‘UN’.
“If the leaders are basically ready for a conversation, we offer to coordinate the agenda quickly,” Putin said. “The alternative is to further reinforce the tensions, to increase the risk of conflict. This development must be avoided. ”
When asked if he would participate, Trump told reporters, “I heard there was something, but I haven’t been made aware of it yet. ”
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed France’s “availability in principle” to Putin’s proposal. “We have in the past deployed initiatives in the same spirit,” he said.