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Iran: US push to extend arms embargo ‘illegitimate’

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Musavi (Student News Agency/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran has criticized what it calls the “illegitimate” efforts by the United States to prolong the UN Security Council arms embargo on Tehran and said it would react to them with “proportionate” measures.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed on April 29 to use all means available to extend the ban on conventional arms sales to Iran beyond October and he was “hopeful” the UN Security Council would prolong the restriction before it expires.

“Iran is not seeking to exit the 2015 nuclear deal with six powers…. America’s move is illegitimate and our reaction will be proportionate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said on May 4 in a televised weekly news conference, referring to an agreement with global powers that the United States left in 2018.

“The United States is not a member of the nuclear deal anymore…. Iran’s reaction to America’s illegal measures will be firm,” Musavi said.

Security Council members China and Russia, which stand to win major new arms contracts with Iran, are certain to oppose an extension of the embargo.

After withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Tehran that have hit its economy hard.

Iran has gradually rolled back its commitments under the accord since the United States quit, arguing that Washington’s actions justified such a course.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to halt its sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.

Washington believes the nuclear program is secretly working toward military capabilities, while Tehran claims it is solely for civilian purposes.