TEHRAN (Dispatches) — Iran’s president and foreign minister lashed out on Wednesday at a revised proposal by the U.S. that would extend a UN arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, the latest in the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy against Iran.
The U.S. on Tuesday circulated the revised draft at the UN, seeking to gain more support in the 15-member Security Council where veto-wielding Russia and China have voiced strong opposition. The revised draft, which eliminated some provisions from the earlier version that diplomats said went beyond the extension of the arms embargo, may be put to a vote as early as Friday, reports said.
"Still, with Russia and China sharply critical of the U.S. effort to indefinitely extend the arms embargo, the two will likely use their veto powers even if the draft got the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes in the council, which appears unlikely,” the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. push to make the arms embargo permanent follows President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between world countries and Tehran.
The nuclear deal, endorsed by the Security Council, includes a provision lifting the arms embargo on Iran on Oct. 18.
Rouhani lambasted the revised draft, saying its "initiators will be responsible for the consequences” if the Security Council adopts the new resolution.
Zarif said the U.S. draft was a "very illegal resolution, and in fact it uses the Security Council mechanisms to destroy the Security Council.”
"I’m confident that this resolution will be rejected too,” Zarif said.
The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. That blocked Iran from replacing its aging military equipment, much of which had been purchased by the shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms exports.
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said Wednesday the watered-down resolution is similar to the previous version in nature.
"The new draft is similar—in its NATURE and GOAL — to the previous,” he tweeted. "Confident that the Council will—again—reject this move.”
Zarif said in an article published by Iran Daily Online on Tuesday that the U.S. is "maliciously” working to destroy the United Nations using the world body itself.
The Trump administration, he said, has "no grand vision for an alternative global community.”
"The U.S.’ fickleness and unpredictability have nothing to do with masterful implementation of game theory. Rather whether it comes to its management of COVID19 at home or its undermining of peace and stability abroad, the current regime in Washington has no real plan except to frontally assault those who stand by the rule of law,” he wrote.