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Iran Slams Gulf Council Call To Extend Arms Embargo on Tehran

By Orkhan Jalilov August 11, 2020

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The Gulf Cooperation Council comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent a letter to the UN Security Council on August 9, backing an extension of an arms embargo that has kept Iran from purchasing foreign-made weapons like fighter jets, tanks and warships. / The Frontier Post

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman has denounced a recent statement issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that demands the extension of an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.

“Unfortunately, it seems that the so-called Persian Gulf Cooperation Council has turned into a spokesperson for some narrow-minded people both inside the council and outside the region, and that the council’s secretariat, swayed by wrong and destructive policies and behavior of certain member states, has turned into a mouthpiece for anti-Iran elements,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said on August 9, according to the official website of the foreign ministry.

He added that “the irresponsible statement by the secretary-general has been unilaterally issued at a time when some members of the council have not stopped purchasing and stockpiling weapons, even during these difficult economic times and are among the biggest buyers of arms in the region and in the world”.

“Certainly, America has an interest in further sales of weapons to these countries with such approaches and empty claims,” the spokesman added.

Mousavi’s remarks came after the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, saying in a statement issued on August 9 that “Iran’s continued interference in neighboring countries made an extension necessary”.

The UNSC approved several resolutions in 2007 which effectively imposed an arms embargo on Iran. However, following Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the UNSC passed Resolution 2231 which stipulated that the arms embargo would end on October 18, 2020. 

The US plans to introduce a resolution to extend the embargo on August 11 and needs at least nine votes in favor in order to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, which Moscow and Beijing have signaled they will do.

The US pulled out of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018. If the US is unable to convince the Security Council to extend the arms embargo, it has threatened to trigger a mechanism of the 2015 deal allowing for a return of all UN sanctions on Iran. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said in a tweet that “countries in the Middle East from the Gulf to Israel support extending the arms embargo. It is deeply important to every one of them. Arabs and Israelis are speaking with one voice and the Security Council must listen”.