RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has asked the UN to extend an international arms embargo on Iran.
A letter sent by the GCC’s secretary general, Nayef Al-Hajraf, to the Security Council cites Tehran’s support for terrorism and its hostile actions against neighbouring countries as reasons to back an extension.
The embargo prevents the movement of conventional weaponry in and out of Iran, and is set to expire on Oct. 18 as part of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The agreement with international powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for the regime curtailing its nuclear program.
In the letter, Al-Hajraf, points out that, in violation of the deal, Iran has “continued to proliferate conventional weapons and armed terrorist and sectarian organizations and movements throughout the region.”
It also said Tehran “has not desisted from armed interventions in neighboring countries, directly and through organizations and movements armed and trained by Iran.”
The embargo’s restrictions, the letter states, are “imperative to ensure and preserve peace and stability in this region.”
The US has also been pushing heavily for an extension to the arms embargo, warning that lifting it could have dire consequences.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the GCC letter, saying it showed Middle East countries supported extending the embargo.
"The GCC’s letter calling on the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran is a bold statement," he said, "The US will introduce a resolution this week to extend the embargo after years of diplomacy. The Council must choose between arming terrorists or standing by the Gulf."
In June, Pompeo cautioned that, if the embargo is terminated, “Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapons systems” and would “become an arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world.”
Pompeo added: “This is unacceptable.”
Russia and China, two of the permanent five members of the UN’s Security Council with veto power, want the arms embargo to lift as scheduled on Oct. 18.
Should that happen, the US has warned that it could introduce “snap back” sanctions built into the original 2015 deal, unilaterally restoring all UN sanctions on Tehran.