On October 18, local time, Iran announced that the UN arms embargo on Iran would automatically end. Subsequently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to Iran’s statement.
US Secretary of State Pompeo warned on Sunday that the United States will impose sanctions on any individuals or entities that assist Iran’s weapons program, a move that may further exacerbate tensions between Washington and Tehran.
“In the past 10 years, under various measures of the United Nations, countries have avoided selling weapons to Iran. Any country that now challenges this ban will very clearly choose to aggravate conflict and tension rather than promote peace and security,” Pompeo said in a statement on Sunday.
“Any country that sells weapons to Iran is impoverishing the Iranian people, allowing the Iranian regime to transfer funds from the people to its military objectives,” he added.
Pompeo’s threats came as the UN’s ten-year arms embargo on Iran officially ended on Sunday. The arms embargo was part of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.
The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in 2007 to impose an arms embargo on Iran. Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France, the United States, and the European Union (EU) reached an agreement with Iran in 2015, agreeing to lift international sanctions in exchange for avoiding Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. The agreement agrees that Iran’s arms embargo will expire on October 18, 2020.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that “from today, the Islamic Republic of Iran can obtain any necessary weapons and equipment from any source based solely on its own defense needs and without any legal restrictions.” However, Tehran stated that it has no intention of continuing its madness. Buy conventional weapons.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains that in accordance with the terms of the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue, “the arms embargo and travel ban will be automatically lifted and no other measures are required.”
According to the UN arms embargo, exporting “certain conventional weapons” to Iran and “procuring any weapons or related materials from Iran” violate the UN Security Council resolutions and should be sanctioned. However, in August the UN Security Council refused to support the US request to extend the arms embargo on Iran. China and Russia voted against Washington’s request, and even close U.S. allies Britain, France, and Germany abstained. Only the United States and the Dominican Republic voted to extend the arms embargo.
In response, the United States unilaterally re-imposed the UN sanctions against Tehran through the snapback procedure last month. Previously, other members of the UN Security Council have stated that Washington does not have the power to enforce sanctions because it withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018.
In the same week that the United States re-imposed United Nations sanctions, the Trump administration put forward more demanding requirements. Pompeo, together with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Secretary of Finance Steven Mnuchin, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, stated that the government will sanction the entire Iranian Ministry of Defense .
“No matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you are at risk of sanctions,” Pompeo said in a speech on September 21. “Our action today is a warning that the world should hear,” he added.
After Pompeo’s speech, Esper said that the Pentagon was “prepared to respond to Iran’s future aggression” and called on Tehran to “act like a normal country”.
Esper added: “We continue to fight side by side with our allies and partners against Iran’s destabilizing behavior. In this way, we will protect our people and our interests and maintain the security of like-minded countries in the region.”
After President Trump withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased, which Trump called the “worst agreement ever.”
The 2015 nuclear agreement lifted sanctions on Iran. The sanctions paralyzed the Iranian economy and reduced oil exports by about half. In exchange for lifting the sanctions, Iran accepted restrictions on its nuclear program until the expiration of 2025.
Trump has previously stated that the United States hopes to reach a broader agreement with Iran to impose stricter restrictions on Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile work and suppress the Iranian regime’s role in regional proxy wars. Tehran refuses to negotiate while the United States continues to impose sanctions.
After the United States withdrew from the nuclear agreement, the other signatories to the agreement — France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China — all tried to keep the agreement going.
Earlier this year, a US attack resulted in the death of Iran’s top military commander, which prompted Iran to further reduce its compliance with international nuclear agreements. In January of this year, Iran stated that it would no longer restrict its uranium enrichment capabilities or nuclear research.