World Pompeo pushes Iran arms embargo at UN, Russia says U.S. knee on Iran's neck
Pompeo Finds Pushback at UN in Bid to Extend Iran Arms Embargo
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged the United Nations Security Council to extend an expiring arms embargo on Iran as world powers from China to Europe pushed back against U.S. threats to reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran if the weapons ban lapses. © Bloomberg Mike Pompeo “This chamber has a choice: Stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations’ founders intended, or let the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran expire, betraying the UN’s mission and its finest ideals -- which we have all pledged to uphold,” Pompeo told the Security Council in an online meeting on Tuesday.
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to extend an arms embargo on Iran before it expires in October, prompting Russia to slam Washington's policy toward Tehran as like "putting a knee" to the country's neck.
The United States has circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council that would indefinitely extend the arms embargo on Tehran, but council veto-powers Russia and China have already signaled their opposition to the move.
Pompeo faces opposition in UN push on Iran arms embargo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran, warning that the Middle East's stability was at risk, but he faced wide skepticism over US threats to trigger sanctions. The United States is adamant about prolonging the ban on conventional arms sales to its adversary which expires in October and has threatened to use a disputed legal move to force a return of UN sanctions on Iran.
"Don't just take it from the United States, listen to countries in the region. From Israel to the Gulf, countries in the Middle East – who are most exposed to Iran's predations – are speaking with one voice: Extend the arms embargo," Pompeo told a virtual Security Council meeting.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has long argued that the arms embargo on Iran should not be lifted. The arms embargo is set to end in mid-October under Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, Germany, France, China, Russia and the administration of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.
Since Trump took office in 2017, his administration has quit the nuclear deal and steadily ramped up sanctions on Iran in what Washington describes as a maximum-pressure approach.
Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report
Iran released a photo Thursday of what appears to a badly fire-damaged factory where the country had touted the production of new centrifuges, The New York Times reports.The Atomic Energy Agency of Iran described the fire at the plant as an "incident." While the photo shows widespread damage to the facility, it's unclear how much damage occurred underground where much of the centrifuge production is thought to happen, according to the Times.AThe Atomic Energy Agency of Iran described the fire at the plant as an "incident." While the photo shows widespread damage to the facility, it's unclear how much damage occurred underground where much of the centrifuge production is thought to happen, according to the Times.
Addressing the council, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia described the policy as "a maximum suffocation policy."
"The task is to achieve regime change or create a situation where Iran literally wouldn't be able to breath. This is like putting a knee to one's neck," he said in a veiled reference to the death of a Black man in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck. The death of George Floyd sparked protests across the United States and around the world.
'LAW OF THE JUNGLE'
The Security Council was meeting on Tuesday to discuss a report by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that determined that cruise missiles used in several attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia last year were of "Iranian origin."
If Washington is unsuccessful in extending the arms embargo, it has threatened to trigger at the Security Council a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran under the nuclear deal, even though it left the accord in 2018. Diplomats say Washington would face a tough, messy battle.
Pompeo pushes back on Russian bounty reports
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused journalists of spreading misinformation related to reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-backed fighters to kill U.S. service members in Afghanistan. © The Hill Pompeo pushes back on Russian bounty reports The secretary further refused to discuss what he knew of intelligence briefings about the bounties, saying such public discussions put American soldiers at risk. "A lot of what you said suggests knowledge that I don't think you actually have," Pompeo told one reporter who asked about the Russian bounties.
Iran has breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the U.S. withdrawal and Washington's reimposition of sanctions.
U.N. political affairs and peacebuilding chief Rosemary DiCarlo said the nuclear deal was crucial to regional and international security, adding: "It is therefore regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt."
Britain, France and Germany all expressed concern to the council that lifting the arms embargo on Iran would have major implications for regional security and stability. However, they also said they would not back U.S. efforts to unilaterally trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "The international community in general — and the U.N. Security Council in particular — are facing an important decision: Do we maintain respect for the rule of law, or do we return to the law of the jungle by surrendering to the whims of an outlaw bully?"
(This story has been refiled to delete extraneous "a" in 7th paragraph).
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Iran to send black boxes of downed Ukraine jet to France .
Iran will send to France next month the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger jet that Tehran's armed forces mistakenly shot down in January, killing all 176 people on board, French aviation investigators said Friday. © STR The Ukrainian passenger jet was struck by two missiles and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on January 8 Iran has requested help with repairing and downloading data from the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, the Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority tweeted.