By staff and agency

Russia warns an extension of arms embargo on Iran will jeopardize nuclear deal

July 3, 2020 - 15:49

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned on Thursday that an extension of arms embargo on Iran will jeopardize efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

The remarks by Zakharova came two days after the U.S. was rebuked by the UN Security Council including the five European countries on the council. 

A week earlier the U.S. introduced a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that would extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires in October.

“The United States’ push was not only unjustified but also counterproductive in terms of the prospects of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted Zakharova as saying.

The United States has stepped up calls for the extension of a UN arms embargo on Iran since April.

Under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal.

The U.S. President Donald Trump administration has threatened that it may seek to trigger a snapback of all sanctions on Iran if its attempts to extend the arms embargo fail.

Zakharova said in May that Washington’s plans to introduce an indefinite arms embargo against Iran have no prospects.

“The stubborn shattering of the JCPOA through new anti-Iranian ideas, which include the proposal to impose an indefinite arms embargo against Iran, simply does not honor the United States. It is clear that this course has no prospects,” Zakharova said at a briefing, Sputnik reported.

Those members of the JCPOA, who have maintained a genuine full commitment to the nuclear deal, will continue to fight for its preservation and sustainable implementation, she said.

“There should be no doubt about this in Washington,” she asserted.

In a letter to the United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council circulated on June 8, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the Trump administration of unleashing a politically motivated campaign against Iran and called for “universal condemnation” of the U.S. attempts.

The Russian foreign minister said the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers and now has no legal right to try to use the UN resolution endorsing the deal to indefinitely continue the arms embargo.

In an address to a virtual UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “The international community in general—and the UN Security Council in particular—are facing an important decision: Do we maintain respect for the rule of law, or do we return to the law of the jungle by surrendering to the whims of an outlaw bully?”

At the virtual Security Council meeting on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressured member states to support the extension.

Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia also censured the U.S. for pursuing a “maximum suffocation” foreign policy against Iran. Nebenzia said Washington’s goal was to “achieve regime change or create a situation where Iran literally wouldn’t be able to breathe”.

“This is like putting a knee to one’s neck,” said Nebenzia in a veiled reference to the death of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck. The incident has since sparked protests across the U.S. and in other countries.

China also voiced opposition to the anti-Iran move, urging Washington “to stop its illegal unilateral sanctions” on Iran.

In a statement to the UN Security Council, Zhang Jun, China’s permanent UN representative, said the root cause of the current crisis is the U.S withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and the reimposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran, Xinhua reported.

“This has again undermined the joint efforts to preserve the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Zhang said.

He stressed that the agreement was endorsed by the UN Security Council and “is legally binding”.

“We urge the U.S. to stop its illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 [of the UNSC],” he said.


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