Security Council rejects U.S. resolution to extend Iran arms embargo

U.S. suffers defeat at UN Security Council

August 15, 2020 - 22:44

TEHRAN — The United States’ efforts to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran ended in a humiliating defeat at the UN Security Council, as 13 out of 15 members of the Council did not support its anti-Iran resolution.

Only two of the Council's 15 members voted in favor, highlighting the division between Washington and its European allies since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear accord in May 2018.

Besides the United States, only the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the draft. China and Russia voted against the text, and the remaining 11 Security Council members, including the European allies of the United States, abstained.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that the UN Security Council session and the act of rejecting the U.S. draft resolution was a “political victory” for Iran and a “political and legal failure” for Washington.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a summit of world leaders to avoid “confrontation” over an American threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The result increases the likelihood that the U.S. will try to unilaterally force a return of UN sanctions, which experts say threatens to plunge the Council into one of its worst-ever diplomatic crises.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the defeat of the resolution ahead of a very brief virtual council meeting to reveal the vote.

“The Security Council's failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” Pompeo said in a statement.

According to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the UN arms embargo on Iran will end on October 18.

The United States, which unilaterally announced its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, has repeatedly claimed it will invoke the “snapback” mechanism within the Security Council should its draft resolution fail to pass.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called the U.S. isolation in the UN Security Council unprecedented.

“Throughout the 75-year history of the United Nations, the U.S. has never been so isolated, despite all its efforts and lobbying,” he said.

The spokesman also said Washington should take a lesson from its total failures.

“The int'l community, once again & w/ a clear voice, rejected the US reckless & futile attempt to undermine the #UNSC credibility,” Mousavi wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday morning.

“The #American_regime should take a lesson from its total failures & stop shaming itself at UN, otherwise it will get isolated, even more than now,” he added.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s permanent mission to the UN had called on the UN Security Council to stand up to the “ill-intentioned” move by the U.S. government.

“The U.S. draft resolution, presented in gross violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, is aimed at addressing U.S. domestic policy and has nothing to do with maintaining international peace and security,” the mission said, according to Press TV.

“The draft resolution undermines the integrity, authority, and credibility of the Security Council; and by extension, the United Nations, multilateralism, the rule of law and diplomacy,” it added.

In a bid to gain more council support, the U.S. slashed its earlier draft resolution on Tuesday to just four paragraphs that would simply extend the arms ban on Tehran “until the Security Council decides otherwise,” claiming it’s “essential to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The Iranian mission said the United States baselessly accuses Iran of instability in the region to satisfy its deep addiction to sanctions and to justify its irresponsible behavior in the Council.

“While its interventions, destructive behavior, divisive policies, and insatiable appetite for exporting its deadly weapons to countries in the region as well as the presence of a large number of its forces in the Middle East (West Asia), their involvement and spreading lies and destructive acts are the main sources of instability, insecurity and human suffering in this region,” it underlined.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pointed out that Washington has no legal right to invoke the snapback mechanism to reinstate sanctions against Tehran under the nuclear deal that the U.S. unilaterally left in May 2018.

“Legally speaking, the United States is no position to use the snapback [mechanism]. The three European allies of the United States also explicitly stated at a previous meeting of the UN Security Council that the United States could not use this mechanism,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

On Friday, Iran’s ambassador to the UN urged the international community to counter the “knee on neck” policy by the United States, warning against regression into a power-based unilateralism.

“No one can deny the ongoing alarming trend of regression from a rules-based multilateralism into a power-based unilateralism. The international community should not allow the ‘knee on neck’ policy to be tolerated at our time anymore,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in statement read out before the UN Security Council meeting.

He said appeasement has never served humanity’s common interests, but it has only further emboldened the bullying powers. 

“In this turbulent time, all States, particularly members of this Council, have a moral and ethical responsibility to do whatever in their power to restore faith in values, purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter,” the envoy noted.

“We owe it to ourselves and to future generations who will have to live with the consequences of our action and inaction,” he added.

Following the meeting, Takht-Ravanchi said the vote once again showed the U.S.’s deepening global isolation.

“The result of the vote in #UNSC on arms embargo against Iran shows—once more—the US' isolation. Council's message: NO to UNILATERALISM. US must learn from this debacle. Its attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions is illegal, and was rejected by int'l community, as was evident today,” he tweeted on Friday.

Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad also said on Saturday that rejection of the U.S. draft resolution demonstrated Washington’s isolation.

“UN Security Council’s total rejection of the US draft resolution on extension of arms embargo against Iran, demonstrates the level of intl’ isolation of the US administration. Maximum international pressure is mounting against US to change its policy re Iran’s nuclear deal. #JCPOA,” Baeidinejad wrote in a tweet.

MH/NA/PA

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