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Pompeo again vows to push for extension of Iran arms embargo

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus listen to the Chair of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Mary Ann Glendon, as she delivers remarks to the press at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. on July 8, 2019. (State Department photo by Michael Gross)

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

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has renewed his pledge to use all means available to extend a ban on conventional arms sales to Iran beyond October.

Pompeo reiterated the vow in a statement on May 9 to mark the second anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

U.S. President Donald withdrew the United States from the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on May 8, 2018.

Pompeo said since then the United States had built “the strongest sanctions in history and prevented Iran from funding and equipping terrorists with many billions of dollars.”

He also said Americans were safer and the Middle East more peaceful than they would have been if the United States had not withdrawn from the JCPOA, and he reiterated his long-standing position that the United States will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Pompeo also referred to this week’s 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, saying the United States and its allies stood together then to rid the world of the Nazis and their hateful ideology.

“Today we face a grave challenge to regional peace from another rogue regime, and we again call on the international community to join us to stop the world’s leading state sponsor of anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said.

The deal provided for Tehran to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

Trump called it “defective at its core” and after withdrawing from it reimposed harsh sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

He has said he wants to force Iran to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the terms were not tough enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and agree curbs to its ballistic-missile program.

Iran has refused, insisting that its nuclear program was strictly for civilian energy purposes, and has gradually rolled back its commitments under the accord.

Pompeo first announced on April 29 that Washington now also wanted to extend the conventional weapons embargo and said he was “hopeful” the UN Security Council would prolong the restriction before it expires.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani reacted by threatening a “crushing response” if the United States continued those efforts.