LONDON: The United States insisted Wednesday it would not allow Iran buy conventional weapons when a UN arms embargo is lifted later this year.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the world realizes that Tehran can not be allowed to be sold weapons systems while it continues to wreak havoc in the Middle East.
The embargo is due to expire in October and the US is hoping to find a way to get the UN Security Council to agree to extend and strengthen the measure.
“We’re not going to let that happen,” Pompeo said when asked about the embargo expiring.
“Does anybody think that the nation that today is conducting terror campaigns by Lebanese Hezbollah, or Iraqi Shia movements or firing military missiles into the air ought to be permitted to purchase conventional weapons systems in just a few months?
“I think the world realises that’s a mistake.”
Pompeo said the US would work with the Security Council to extend the prohibition, but if that failed, it would evaluate “every possibility.”
He said the situation was one of the many failings of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal designed to reduce Tehran’s nuclear activity in exchange for an easing of sanctions.
Donald Trump withdrew the US in 2018 from what he described as “the worst deal in history”, which agreed for the embargo to end on Oct. 18. Washington reimposed sanctions and increased America’s military capabilities in the Gulf after Iran was blamed for attacks on shipping and Saudi Arabia.
Pompeo also accused Iran of flying support to Venezuela - another country that the US is targeting with heavy sanctions.
He said over the last few days multiple aircraft belonging to Mahan Air had transferred “unknown support” to the regime of Nicolas Maduro.
“This is the same terrorist airline that Iran used to move weapons and fighters around the Middle East,” Pompeo said.
He called for the flights to stop and for other countries to not allow Mahan Air to fly through their airspaces.