The UN Security Council rejected a U.S. proposal to indefinitely extend the conventional weapons embargo on Iran which is set to expire in October 2020.
“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defence of international peace and security is inexcusable,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday as the council voted to allow the 13-year embargo to expire.
The Security Council “rejected a reasonable resolution” said Pompeo, and “paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific UN restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade.”
The vote was two in favour, two against and 11 abstentions in the 15-member council.
Russia and China, the two permanent members of the Security Council had opposed the push for an indefinite extension of the embargo. France, Germany and the U.K. had also voiced their dissent to the U.S. threat to impose sanctions unilaterally if the Security Council voted to let the embargo expire.
Th permanent members did not have to use their veto power, but the nations pointed that U.S. was not in a position to negotiate the term of an arms embargo since they had withdrawn from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018.
With the failure of the resolution, the U.S. has threatened to unilaterally trigger snapback sanctions on Tehran, arguing that their withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a separate matter from Iran’s arms dealing.
“We don’t think Iran has given any indication that it is in a place remotely where the world [should] sell them high-end weapon systems,” Pompeo said.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said in a statement that the U.S. “has every right to initiate snapback of provisions of previous Security Council resolutions” and “in the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo.”
Experts have said that the snapback could plunge the Council into chaos and destroy the nuclear deal while further fanning regional tensions.