US ‘will prevent’ Iran from buying Russian and Chinese weapons, says Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States would prevent Iran from buying Russian and Chinese weapons, just over a month after the end of an international arms embargo on Tehran.
“Nothing has been done so far to extend this embargo and, therefore, the United States has assumed its responsibilities,” said the secretary in an interview with Radio France Inter, referring to the divergence between Americans and Europeans on the matter.
“We will prevent Iran from acquiring Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems and then selling weapons to Hezbollah,” he added.
The United States withdrew in 2018 from the Iranian nuclear deal and reinstated strong sanctions against Tehran. Washington accuses Tehran of expansionism in the Middle East through local groups, such as the powerful Shiite Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.
It also formally launched a procedure at the UN on August 21 to call for the restoration of international sanctions against Iran, including the extension of the arms embargo.
The United States does, however, face the categorical rejection of its European allies – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – and other major powers (China and Russia), which signed the 2015 agreement. This pact should prevent Iran from equipping itself with nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that stifle their economy.
An overwhelming majority of Security Council members (13 out of 15), including the signatory countries to the agreement, rejected the validity of the procedure initiated by the United States in August.
According to these countries, Washington, which has not been part of the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program since 2018, has no legal basis for calling for the return of international sanctions at the UN through this pact.
While many of Washington’s allies are concerned about the resumption of Iranian uranium enrichment activities in response to U.S. sanctions, they also denounce Donald Trump’s hidden motives. Two months before the presidential election, the US president is eager to show results on the topic.
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