U.S. threatens sanctions after U.N. arms embargo in opposition to Iran expires

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks throughout a information convention to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on the U.S. State Division in Washington, September 21, 2020.

Patrick Semansky | Pool | Reuters

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Sunday that the US will slap sanctions on any particular person or entity that assists Iran’s weapons program, a transfer that can doubtless additional worsen tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“For the previous 10 years, nations have shunned promoting weapons to Iran underneath varied UN measures. Any nation that now challenges this prohibition shall be very clearly selecting to gasoline battle and stress over selling peace and safety,” Pompeo mentioned in a Sunday assertion.

“Any nation that sells weapons to Iran is impoverishing the Iranian folks by enabling the regime’s diversion of funds away from the folks and towards the regime’s army goals,” he added.

The risk comes after a decade-long U.N. arms embargo in opposition to Iran formally expired Sunday as a part of the nuclear deal agreed with world powers in 2015.

Iran’s International Ministry introduced that the “Islamic Republic of Iran might procure any crucial arms and tools from any supply with none authorized restrictions and solely primarily based on its defensive wants.” Nonetheless, Tehran mentioned it has no intention to go on a shopping for spree of typical arms.

Below the U.N. arms embargo, the export of “sure typical arms to Iran” and the “procurement of any arms or associated materiel from Iran” is in violation of the U.N. Safety Council decision and is topic to sanctions.

Nonetheless, the U.N. Safety Council refused in August to help a U.S. effort to increase the arms embargo in opposition to Iran. China and Russia voted in opposition to Washington’s efforts, whereas even shut U.S. allies equivalent to Britain, France and Germany abstained. Solely the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted for an extension.

In response, the US unilaterally re-imposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran final month by way of a snapback course of, which different U.N. Safety Council members have beforehand mentioned Washington doesn’t have the authority to execute as a result of it withdrew from the nuclear deal in in 2018.

The identical week that the U.S. reimposed the U.N. sanctions the Trump administration upped the ante much more. Pompeo, flanked by Protection Secretary Mark Esper, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, mentioned the administration would sanction Iran’s total Ministry of Protection.

“Irrespective of who you’re, when you violate the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, you threat sanctions,” Pompeo mentioned in an address on Sept. 21. “Our actions immediately are a warning that needs to be heard worldwide,” he added.

Esper adopted on Pompeo’s remarks and mentioned the Pentagon was “prepared to reply to future Iranian aggression” and known as on Tehran to “act like a traditional nation.”

“We proceed to face shoulder to shoulder with our allies and companions to counter Iran’s destabilizing conduct. In doing so, we are going to shield our folks and our pursuits and preserve the safety of like-minded nations throughout the area,” Esper added.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mounted after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, calling it “the worst deal ever.”

The 2015 accord lifted sanctions on Iran that crippled its financial system and lower its oil exports roughly in half. In alternate for sanctions aid, Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program till the phrases expire in 2025.

Trump has beforehand mentioned that the U.S. needs to succeed in a broader take care of Iran that places stricter limits on its nuclear and ballistic missile work and suppresses the regime’s position in regional proxy wars. Tehran has refused to barter whereas U.S. sanctions stay in place.

Following Washington’s exit from the nuclear deal, different signatories of the pact ⁠— France, Germany, the U.Okay., Russia and China ⁠— tried to maintain the settlement alive. 

Earlier this yr, a U.S. strike that killed Iran’s prime army commander triggered the regime to additional cut back compliance with the worldwide nuclear pact. In January, Iran mentioned it would no longer limit its uranium enrichment capacity or nuclear research.