New UNSC Restriction Will Face Iran’s Firm Response

The US call for the extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran was resisted not only by rivals like China and Russia, but also by key allies, illustrating the growing isolation and declining influence of the US
New UNSC Restriction Will Face Iran’s Firm Response New UNSC Restriction Will Face Iran’s Firm Response

The imposition of any new restriction by the United Nations Security Council is against the fundamental commitments made to the Iranian people and will face Tehran’s firm response, the Iranian top diplomat said. 
“And the United States and any entity which may assist it—or acquiesce in its illegal behavior—will bear full responsibility,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in his address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday. 
The council’s videoconference was convened to discuss the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
As per the terms of the resolution, the UN arms embargo on Iran is due to expire in October, but the US, which has already exited the deal and restored sanctions on Tehran, is campaigning to convince the UN Security Council to vote for its extension.
“Don’t just take it from the United States, listen to countries in the region. From Israel to the [Persian] Gulf, countries in the Middle East–who are most exposed to Iran’s predations–are speaking with one voice: Extend the arms embargo,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the virtual meeting.



Inseparable Part

Zarif pointed out in his speech that the timetable for the removal of the arms restrictions is “an inseparable part of the hard-won compromise” that enabled JCPOA negotiators to finally agree on the overall package of the deal and the resolution. 
“The resolution explicitly urges its full implementation on the timetable,” he said, adding that any attempt to change or amend the agreed timetable is tantamount to undermining Resolution 2231 in its entirety.
He advised the council against allowing a single country to abuse its processes.  
“In such a scenario, Iran’s options, as already notified to the remaining JCPOA participants, will be firm,” he said, without elaborating. 
Zarif warned that if the UN Security Council falters, it will be “a generational setback for the cause of multilateralism and the rule of law”. 
The US has threatened to trigger the return of all UN sanctions on Iran under Resolution 2231, if its draft resolution on extending the arms ban fails to win enough votes. 
Zarif stressed that “the US cannot arrogate to itself any right under that resolution” as it has already “violated each and every one of its obligations”.
The meeting was also set to discuss the recent report of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the use of weapons “of Iranian origin” in several recent attacks that “may have been transferred in a manner inconsistent” with JCPOA and Resolution 2231. 
Zarif described the report as “utterly unprofessional” and outside the secretariat’s scope of its mandate under UNSCR 2231. 
He held the US and its allies accountable, saying they have launched a campaign of intimidation against international institutions and coerced the UN Secretariat to rely on “self-serving allegations and forged documents” to produce such reports. 



Another US Defeat

Speaking in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will not tolerate another blow to JCPOA and would give a strong response, as already notified to the remaining participants.
“But if the US wants to strike another blow to JCPOA, a political one, the Islamic Republic will not tolerate it,” he was quoted as saying by 
Rouhani also said the US faced another defeat on Tuesday, as all other 14 members of the UN Security Council expressed support for JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. 
Pompeo’s call was resisted not only by rivals like China and Russia, but also by key allies, illustrating the growing isolation and declining influence of the US, according to analysts.
China objected to the extension of the arms restriction and emphasized that the US is not entitled to use JCPOA processes because it has already abandoned it. 
“China opposes the US push for extending arms embargo on Iran. All provisions of Resolution 2231 should be implemented, including arrangements on arms-related restrictive measures. Having quit the JCPOA, the US is no longer a participant, and has no right to trigger snapback at the Security Council,” Chinese UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said in his address to the virtual meeting. 
He referred to the UN secretary-general’s report, saying it failed to fully accommodate and reflect the legitimate concerns of Iran. 
“It also made conclusions on issues, such as origin of weapons, simply based on one-sided information. This is deeply regrettable,” the Chinese diplomat said, according to China’s UN mission. 
Russia, which has also expressed opposition to the move, censured the US policy of “maximum pressure”, describing it as “a maximum suffocation policy”.
“The task is 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,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said at the Tuesday conference. 
Representatives of Britain, France and Germany voiced unease at both the expiration of the embargo and the American approach, particularly the snapback, which they flatly opposed.
The European powers said they hoped to find some way to limit Iranian access to arms through a compromise negotiated in the framework of the 2015 agreement, not an action imposed by the UN Security Council, according to the New York Times. 

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