The United States lost a bid on Friday to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran as Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a summit of world leaders to avoid “confrontation” over a U.S. threat to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Tehran.
In a U.N. Security Council vote, Russia and China opposed extending the weapons ban, which is due to expire in October under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Eleven members abstained, including France, Germany and Britain, while Washington and the Dominican Republic were the only yes votes.
“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said in a statement after the vote that the result “once again shows that unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail.”
The United States could now follow through on a threat to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran using a provision in the nuclear deal, known as snapback, even though President Donald Trump abandoned the accord in 2018. Diplomats have said the United States could do this as early as next week, but would face a tough, messy battle.
“In the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said in a statement.
Diplomats have said such a move would put the fragile nuclear deal further at risk because Iran would lose a major incentive for limiting its nuclear activities. Iran already has breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the pact and unilateral sanctions.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi warned the United States against trying to trigger a return of sanctions.
“Imposition of any sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited. And the United States and any entity which may assist it or acquiesce in its illegal behavior will bear the full responsibility,” he said in a statement.
‘THE ISSUE IS URGENT’
Putin on Friday proposed a video summit with the United States and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal – Britain, France, China, Germany and Iran – to try to avoid further “confrontation and escalation” at the United Nations over Iran.
“The issue is urgent,” Putin said in a statement, adding that the alternative was “only further escalation of tensions, increasing risk of conflict – such a scenario must be avoided.”
Asked if he would take part, Trump told reporters, “I hear there’s something, but I haven’t been told of it yet.” French President Emmanuel Macron is open to taking part in a video summit, the Elysee palace said.
The United States has argued that it can trigger a sanctions snapback because a U.N. Security Council resolution enshrining the nuclear deal named Washington as a participant. But the remaining parties to the deal are opposed to the move.
Putin said Russia, an ally of Iran in the Syrian civil war, remained fully committed to the nuclear deal and that the aim of a summit would be to outline steps aimed at avoiding “confrontation and escalation of the situation in the Security Council.”
Trump has said he wants to negotiate a new deal with Iran that would prevent it from developing nuclear weapons and also curb its activities in the region and elsewhere. Trump, who has walked away from a series of international agreements, has dubbed the 2015 nuclear deal – reached under his predecessor Barack Obama – “the worst deal ever.”
Diplomats have said several countries would argue that the United States legally could not activate a return of sanctions and therefore simply would not reimpose the measures on Iran themselves.
White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Friday the refusal of France, Germany and Britain to back the United States in a U.N. Security Council vote to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran was “disappointing but not surprising.”
“We lost today but it’s not over yet,” O’Brien said in an interview with Fox News Channel.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday all but dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a summit of world leaders to discuss Iran, saying he probably would not participate.
During a news conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Trump also said he intended to move next week to trigger a “snapback” of sanctions on Iran at the United Nations.
“We’ll be doing a snapback,” Trump told reporters one day after the U.N. Security Council rejected a U.S. bid to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran. “You’ll be watching it next week.”
The United States has threatened to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran using a provision in a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, known as snapback, even though Trump abandoned the accord in 2018. Diplomats have said the United States would face a tough, messy battle in any such move.
The United States lost its bid on Friday to extend the U.N. arms embargo after Putin proposed a summit of world leaders to avoid “confrontation” over the American “snapback” threat.
“Probably not,” Trump said when asked whether he would participate in the Putin-backed summit.
In the Security Council vote, Russia and China opposed extending the weapons ban, which is due to expire in October. Eleven members abstained, including France, Germany and Britain, while the United States and the Dominican Republic were the only yes votes.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday the United States suffered a humiliating defeat at the Security Council.
“I don’t remember the United States preparing a resolution for months to strike a blow at the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it garners only one vote,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. “But the great success was that the United States was defeated in this conspiracy with humiliation.”
“It’s a serious mistake, we regret that,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday of the Security Council vote in a news conference during a visit to Poland.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the Security Council’s decision not to extend the arms embargo on Iran will lead to further Middle East instability.
“The extremist regime in Iran doesn’t just finance terrorism: it takes an active part in terrorism through its branches around the world and uses it as a political tool. This behavior represents a danger to regional and international stability,” Ashkenazi said in a statement on Saturday.
The U.N. Security Council’s decision not to extend an arms embargo on Iran will lead to further Middle East instability, Israel’s foreign minister said on Saturday.
“The extremist regime in Iran doesn’t just finance terrorism: it takes an active part in terrorism through its branches around the world and uses it as a political tool. This behaviour represents a danger to regional and international stability,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a statement.