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US Revises UN Resolution on Iran       08/12 06:40

   

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States on Tuesday circulated a revised 
resolution that would extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, seeking 
to gain more support in the 15-member Security Council where veto-wielding 
Russia and China have voiced strong opposition.

   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," she said in a 
statement.

   Council diplomats said the revised draft could be put in a final form 
Thursday and put to a vote Friday.

   The revised draft, obtained by The Associated Press, is just four paragraphs 
and replaces the original seven-page, 35-paragraph draft circulated in June.

   The original draft included several provisions that some diplomats objected 
to as going beyond the extension of the arms embargo, and were eliminated.

   One provision in the original resolution would have authorized all U.N. 
member states to inspect cargo entering or transiting through their territory 
at airports, seaports and free trade zones from Iran or heading there, if the 
member state had "reasonable grounds to believe the cargo" contained banned 
items.

   Another provision would have condemned a September 2019 attack on Saudi 
Arabia and December 2019 attacks on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk and the 
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, saying Iran was responsible.

   The new draft states that the arms embargo, notwithstanding its Oct. 18 
expiration, "shall continue to apply until the Security Council decides 
otherwise." It says that full implementation of the arms embargo "is essential 
to the maintenance of international peace and security."

   Iran's U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi tweeted: "Rebuffed by UNSC 
(Security Council) members, US was forced to retreat from its draft resolution 
... and proposed another version."

   "The new draft is similar --- in its NATURE and GOAL --- to the previous," 
he tweeted. "Confident that the Council will --- again --- reject this move."

   The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 
2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. That blocked Iran from replacing 
its aging military equipment, much of which had been purchased by the shah 
before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms 
exports.

   The U.S. push to make the arms embargo permanent follows President Donald 
Trump's 2018 withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between six major powers and 
Iran, aimed at preventing Iranian development of nuclear weapons. Tehran has 
repeatedly insisted it has no interest or intention to produce a nuclear bomb.

   The 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal 
includes a provision lifting the arms embargo on Iran on Oct. 18.

   The foreign ministers of Russia and China, in separate letters to U.N. 
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council last month, were 
sharply critical of the U.S. effort to indefinitely extend the arms embargo. 
They gave every indication they would veto any such resolution if it got the 
minimum nine "yes" votes in the 15-member council, which appears unlikely.

   If the resolution is defeated, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested 
the U.S. would invoke the "snap back" mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal that 
would restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran. "Snap back" was envisioned in the 
event Iran was proven to be in violation of the accord, under which it received 
billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear 
program.

   Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the Trump administration of 
waging a politically motivated campaign against Iran and called for "universal 
condemnation" of the U.S. attempt to impose a permanent arms embargo on the 
Islamic Republic. He said Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement and 
now has no legal right to try to use the U.N. resolution endorsing the deal to 
indefinitely continue the embargo.

   Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the arms embargo should be lifted Oct. 
18. He also argued that since the U.S. is no longer a party to the nuclear deal 
it "has no right to demand the Security Council to activate the rapid 
reinstatement of sanctions" through the "snap back" provision.

   The five remaining signatories to the 2015 deal --- Russia, China, Britain, 
France and Germany --- remain committed to the agreement. Diplomats from 
several of these countries have expressed serious concern that extending the 
arms embargo would lead to Iran's exit from the deal and its speeded-up pursuit 
of nuclear weapons.

   The U.S. argues that Iran hasn't been cooperating with the International 
Atomic Energy Agency for a year and has been moving a lot of weapons to proxies 
in the Middle East despite the embargo.

   If the embargo is lifted, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency predicted in 
2019 that Iran likely would try to purchase Russian Su-30 fighter jets, Yak-130 
trainer aircraft and T-90 tanks. Tehran also may try to buy Russia's S-400 
anti-aircraft missile system and its Bastian coastal defense missile system, 
the agency said.

 
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