NEW YORK, August 11 ------ The U.N. Security Council is preparing to vote this week on a U.S. proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran, a move that some diplomats say is bound to fail and put the fate of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers further at risk. A last-minute attempt by Britain, France and Germany to broker a compromise with Russia and China on an arms embargo extension appeared unsuccessful so far, diplomats said. Russia and China, allies of Iran, have long-signaled opposition to the U.S. measure.
A Chinese diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that “extending the arms embargo on Iran in whatever form lacks legal basis and will undermine efforts to preserve” the nuclear deal, adding that there is “no chance” the U.S. text will be adopted. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said Russia and China wanted to benefit from the end of the arms embargo. “Russia and China are waiting to be able to sell arms to Iran,” Craft told Fox News.
The embargo is due to expire in October under a 2015 deal among Iran, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France and the United States that prevents Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief. Even though U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration quit the accord in 2018 - with Trump dubbing it “the worst deal ever” - Washington has threatened to use a provision in the agreement to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not extend the arms embargo indefinitely.
Renewed sanctions — a move known as snapback — would likely kill the nuclear deal because Iran would lose a major incentive for limiting its nuclear activities. Iran has already breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the pact and Washington’s imposing strong unilateral sanctions. “This U.S. administration’s goal is to terminate the Iran nuclear deal,” said a European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook alluded to the United States wanting to reimpose all U.N. sanctions when he said last week, “We need to restore the U.N. Security Council standard of no enrichment.” A snapback of U.N. sanctions would require Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, and ban imports of anything that could contribute to those activities or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. It would reimpose the arms embargo, ban Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and reimpose targeted sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities. States would also be urged to inspect shipments to and from Iran and authorized to seize any banned cargo.