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Pompeo says US will extend arms embargo against Iran 'one way or another'

Washington plans to submit draft resolution at UN Security Council, with Russia and China likely to veto
Pompeo said he was confident the Trump administration would make sure the UN embargo is extended.
Pompeo says he is confident Trump administration will make sure UN embargo is extended (AFP/File photo)
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Washington

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will submit a resolution at the UN Security Council next week calling for an extension of an international arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire in October.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Pompeo said that "one way or another" the Trump administration would make sure the UN embargo is extended, but failed to offer any specifics on how this may be achieved.

"The proposal we put forward is amenably reasonable," Pompeo told reporters.

The US is pushing ahead with its bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran by way of a draft Security Council resolution, despite some diplomats noting a lack of enthusiasm for such a move among its 15 members.

Washington's draft resolution needs at least nine votes in favour to move forward. Even then, Russia and China can use their vetoes, which the two countries signalled they will do. Yet some diplomats have questioned whether Washington can even secure those nine.

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"In the last handful of months, we've been working diligently to get the three nations that have the largest nuclear capabilities - the United States, Russia and China - to have strategic dialogue about how we move forward together to decrease the risk to the world," Pompeo said.

"We've made progress with the Russians; we've had two good gatherings. I hope we'll have one before too long, and we're hopeful that the Chinese will choose to participate," he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that Beijing opposes the US proposal.

The UN imposed a ban on the export of most major conventional weapons to Iran in 2010. But when the Iran nuclear deal - known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - went into effect in October 2015, a potential date for some aspects of the embargo to expire was set for 18 October 2020.

Since the US withdrew from the accord, Iran has steadily reduced its compliance with restrictions on its production of enriched uranium and has substantially boosted its stockpiles.

If the US is unsuccessful in extending the embargo, the Trump administration has threatened to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran under a process agreed in the 2015 deal.

Such a move would kill the deal, touted as a way to suspend Tehran's alleged drive to develop nuclear weapons. Washington argues it can trigger the sanctions because a Security Council resolution still identifies it as a participant.

Iran, meanwhile, denies it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb and has slammed US efforts to extend the arms embargo as "illegitimate".