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US seeks more support on extending UN Arms Embargo against Iran

Iran's Missile Program (Hamid Tavakoli/WikiCommons)

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

The United States has circulated a revised draft resolution that seeks to indefinitely extend a United Nations arms embargo against Iran.

The move on August 11 by the United States is aimed at gaining more support in the 15-member UN Security Council.

But it is seen as unlikely to overcome opposition from the Security Council’s veto-wielding permanent members Russia and China.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said the new draft “takes council views into account and simply does what everyone knows should be done — extend the arms embargo to prevent Iran from freely buying and selling conventional weapons.”

“It is only common sense that the world’s #1 state sponsor of terror not be given the means of unleashing even greater harm on the world,” Craft said in a statement.

Reuters reports that the new text is just four paragraphs and would extend a weapons ban on Iran “until the Security Council decides otherwise.”

It also states that indefinite extension of the arms embargo is “essential to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The 13-year-old arms embargo is due to expire in October under the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran made with Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France, and the United States — a deal for sanctions relief in exchange for security guarantees aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

The previous U.S. draft resolution was more than a dozen pages long and was described by diplomats and analysts as “maximalist.”

It would have required countries to inspect cargo going to or coming from Iran. It also included an annex of individuals and entities for targeted sanctions.

Richard Gowan, who monitors UN developments for the International Crisis Group, says there is a good chance the U.S. draft resolution will “fail” by August 14.

“Don’t let the brevity of the new U.S. draft fool you,” Gowan said on Twitter. “The key point is that it authorizes an indefinite extension of the Iran arms embargo … and China and Russia will *not* like that.”

The United States has asked council members for comments by the morning of August 12. The council is operating virtually — so once a vote is called, members have 24 hours to submit their response.