JEDDAH: The US ramped up pressure on Sunday over a UN embargo on arms sales to Iran that is due to expire in October.
Washington wants to extend the ban and failure to do so would make regional conflicts worse, the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said on a visit to Qatar.
“I’ve spoken with leaders here in the Gulf and around the world, and no one believes that Iran should be able to freely buy and sell conventional weapons such as fighter jets ... and various kinds of missiles,” he said.
“If the Security Council fails to extend the arms embargo by Oct. 18, Iran will be able to freely buy and sell these weapons.
“Imagine what the region will look like if this happens, conflicts in places like Syria and Yemen will certainly intensify.”
Russia and China have a veto in the UN Security Council, and both are in the market for arms contracts with Iran.
Washington has warned it could employ a disputed legal move to restore wide UN sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not prolong the arms embargo.
Iran is a key player on the side of the Assad regime in Syria, and supports Houthi militias in Yemen against the internationally recognized government and the Arab coalition. It also arms and funds Hezbollah in Lebanon and paramilitary factions in Iraq.
Iran is also at the center of a dispute between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The four countries severed diplomatic, economic and travel ties with Qatar in 2017 over Doha’s funding of terrorism and its close ties to Tehran.
Hook on Sunday urged an end to the dispute, which he said “has continued for too long and ultimately harms our shared regional interests in stability, prosperity and security.”
The US envoy will visit Kuwait on the next leg of his trip, having already visited Tunisia, a current member of the Security Council.