US ‘has knee on Iran’s neck’ says Russia at UN

By bne IntelIiNews June 30, 2020

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia on June 30 accused the US at the UN Security Council of pursuing foreign policy against Iran in a way that was “like putting a knee to one’s neck” as he spoke out against Washington’s move for an extension of an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.

Adding that US policy towards Iran was “a maximum suffocation policy”, he added that the objective of the US was to “achieve regime change or create a situation where Iran literally wouldn’t be able to breath”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier pushed the Security Council to extend its arms embargo on Iran before it expires in mid-October.

The US 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 indicated their opposition to the move.

“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, as reported by Reuters.

The arms embargo is set to end under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers. The US, one of those powers, pulled out of the accord in May 2018. Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia remain signatories.

The Trump administration has steadily ramped up sanctions and other pressure on Iran to try and force Tehran to sign up to a tougher nuclear deal that would diminish its role in the Middle East and place much stricter limits on its nuclear development programme as well as its ballistic missiles programme.

The Security Council was meeting on June 30 to discuss a report by UN 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.”

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 that they would not back US efforts to unilaterally trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “The international community in general—and the UN 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?”  

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