US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions against Iran at the US State Department in Washington on September 21, 2020.
Patrick Semansky | Swimming pool | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Sunday that the United States will impose sanctions on any individual or entity that assists Iran̵
“Over the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling arms to Iran under various UN measures. Any country that now challenges this ban will very clearly choose to fuel conflict and tension on promoting peace and security. “Pompeo said in a statement on Sunday. .
“Any nation that sells arms to Iran is impoverishing the Iranian people by allowing the regime to divert funds from the people and towards the regime’s military objectives,” he added.
The threat comes after a decade of a United Nations arms embargo on Iran officially expired on Sunday as part of the nuclear deal agreed with world powers in 2015.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that “the Islamic Republic of Iran can procure the necessary weapons and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions and solely on the basis of its defensive needs”. However, Tehran said it has no plans to go out and buy conventional weapons.
Under the UN arms embargo, the export of “certain conventional weapons to Iran” and “the procurement of arms or related material from Iran” violates the UN Security Council Resolution and is subject to sanctions .
However, the UN Security Council refused in August to support a US effort to extend the arms embargo against Iran. China and Russia voted against Washington’s efforts, while closest US allies such as Britain, France and Germany also abstained. Only the United States and the Dominican Republic voted for an extension.
In response, the United States unilaterally reset UN sanctions on Tehran last month through a snapback process, which other UN Security Council members had previously claimed Washington does not have the authority to execute because it has withdrawn from the nuclear deal in 2018.
The same week the United States reset UN sanctions, the Trump administration upped the ante further. Pompeo, joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said the administration will sanction the entire Iranian Ministry of Defense.
“No matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions,” Pompeo said in a speech on Sept. 21. “Our actions today are a warning that should be heeded around the world,” he added.
Esper followed Pompeo’s remarks and said the Pentagon was “ready to respond to future Iranian aggression” and called on Tehran to “act like a normal country”.
“We continue to stand side by side with our allies and partners to counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran. In doing so, we will protect our people and our interests and maintain the security of like-minded nations across the region.” Esper added.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the historic Iran nuclear deal in 2018, calling it “the worst deal ever”.
The 2015 deal lifted sanctions against Iran that crippled its economy and cut its oil exports by roughly half. In exchange for the relief of sanctions, Iran has accepted limits on its nuclear program until the deadlines expire in 2025.
Trump has already said that the US wants to reach a broader agreement with Iran that places stricter limits on its work on nuclear and ballistic missiles and suppresses the regime’s role in regional proxy wars. Tehran has refused to negotiate while US sanctions remain in place.
After Washington’s exit from the nuclear deal, other signatories to the pact – France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China – have tried to keep the deal alive.
Earlier this year, a US attack that killed Iran’s top military commander triggered the regime to further curtail compliance with the international nuclear deal. In January, Iran said it would no longer limit its uranium enrichment capacity or nuclear research.