US urges Iranian embargo extension

World | ASSOCIATED PRESS 29 Jun 2020

An expiring United Nations weapons embargo on Iran must remain in place to prevent it from "becoming the arms dealer of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations around the world," the US special representative to Iran said yesterday.

Brian Hook told The Associated Press that the world should ignore Iran's threats to retaliate if the arms embargo set to expire in October is extended, calling it a "mafia tactic."

Among its options, Iran could expel international inspectors monitoring Iran's nuclear program, deepening a crisis created by US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing from Teheran's 2015 atomic accord with global powers.

The UN arms embargo so far has stopped Iran from purchasing fighter jets, tanks, warships and other weaponry, but has failed to halt its smuggling of weapons into war zones.

Despite that, Hook argued both an import and export ban on Teheran must remain in place to secure the wider Middle East.

"If we let it expire, you can be certain that what Iran has been doing in the dark, it will do in broad daylight and then some," Hook said.

Hook made the comments while on a visit to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, as part of a Mideast tour.

The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. The move blocked Iran from replacing its aging equipment.

If the embargo is lifted, the US Defense Intelligence Agency predicted that Iran would try to purchase Russian Su-30 fighter jets, Yak-130 trainer aircraft and T-90 tanks.

"If we play by Iran's rules, Iran wins," Hook said.

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