NEW YORK / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue on the “path of dystopia” blocking a United States attempt to extend a weapons ban to Iran, the Iranian envoy from the United States said. Brian Hook to Reuters. his formal speech on the embargo to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: Brian Hook, US Special Representative. USA For Iran, speak at a press conference in London, Great Britain, June 28, 2019. REUTERS / Simon Dawson
The 13-year-old arms restrictions on Iran will expire in October under the terms of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Russia and China have signaled that they oppose extending the embargo.
While Washington has long argued that the embargo should not be lifted, the international community has been waiting for it to formally push the measure forward. Hook and United States Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft explained why the 15-member council should support a draft resolution that extends the embargo behind closed doors on Wednesday.
“We see a growing gap between Russia and China and the international community,” Hook said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday night.
“Russia and China were isolated at the (International Atomic Energy Agency) last week and will be isolated at the Security Council if they continue down this path to dystopia,” Hook said.
The IAEA’s board of governors from the 35 nations on Friday called on Iran to allow access by the UN nuclear watchdog to two sites suspected of nuclear weapons activity and to cooperate fully. The Iranian allies, Russia and China opposed this measure, but were unable to block it, while in the Security Council they have veto powers.
A council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no veto from the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain or France to pass.
“There is no possibility of its adoption,” said a Chinese diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, after Hook and Craft informed the council’s envoys. “The United States draft resolution is, in essence, a continuation of the United States’ maximum pressure policy [on Iran] and it has no value or basis for discussion. ”
Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Russia and China to resist Washington’s push, promising “to increase our defense capabilities as we have been doing even under sanctions.”
“Extending the arms embargo is right and necessary, and all Security Council members know this, whether they say it publicly or not,” Hook said.
“The embargo has not prevented all Iranian arms transfers, but export and import bans have been effective in setting clear limits on Iran’s behavior,” he argued.
The United States circulated the draft resolution on Monday after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reported to the council earlier this month that cruise missiles used in various attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia on last year they were of “Iranian origin”.
If the United States fails to extend the embargo, it has threatened to trigger the return of all UN sanctions on Iran under a process agreed to in the 2015 nuclear deal, despite the U.S. renouncing the deal in 2018.
Such a move would kill the nuclear deal, promoted by the United States and others in 2015 as a way to suspend Tehran’s alleged push to develop nuclear weapons, and diplomats say Washington will face a tough battle on the council.
The United States argues that it can trigger sanctions because a UN resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal still names Washington as a participant.
Iran has breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal and the reimposition of Washington sanctions.
Rouhani said Wednesday that Tehran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologizes for giving up the nuclear deal and compensates Tehran.
“We are happy to strike up conversations with them when the time is right, but the conditions that suggest that we somehow give the Iranians a lot of money so that they can spread terror around the world are just ridiculous,” said the secretary. of the United States, Mike Pompeo. on Wednesday.
Reports by Michelle Nichols in New York and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; Additional reports from Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Paul Simao and Grant McCool edition