US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said Washington will do everything in its power to extend the international arms embargo on Iran which UN Security Council members have started voting on.
On a visit to Vienna, Pompeo told the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, that Iran must give full, transparent and immediate cooperation with the IAEA.
Pompeo is in Austria on the third leg of a four-nation tour of eastern and central Europe.
“We are going to do everything that we can within our diplomatic toolset to ensure that arms embargo doesn’t expire,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
“It makes no sense to permit the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to purchase and sell weapons systems,” he added. “I mean, that’s just nuts.”
Pompeo urged “the whole world to join” the US, and said that the stand-off wasn’t just about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but rather: “It is about whether the world is going to allow Iran to buy and sell weapons systems,” he said.
Washington’s appeal to indefinitely extend the Iran arms embargo, which is due to expire in October under the terms of the nuclear deal, is expected to be rejected due to strong opposition from China and Russia and resistance from several countries in Europe who remain committed to the agreement.
Opponents warn that extending the embargo would lead to Iran’s departure from the deal. Tehran has already reneged on some limits imposed.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, causing the country’s oil exports – Iran’s main source of income – to plummet.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of “economic terrorism.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for an emergency summit on the Iran issue to avoid an escalation of tensions in the Gulf.
Voting results on the Iran embargo are expected later on Friday.