Office of the Spokesperson
“Let’s never accept Iran’s usual violent behavior for fear of something far worse… Let’s never submit to extortion… Let’s uphold the mission of this body to address threats to international peace and security… Let’s continue the arms embargo on Iran.”
-Secretary Pompeo, June 30, 2020
This latest report on UNSCR 2231 implementation, published by the United Nations Secretary-General based on an impartial evaluation of the available evidence, confirms what the United States has said all along: Iran continues to use its arsenal of conventional weapons to destabilize the Middle East and foment sectarian violence and terrorism across the region.
The report determines that the weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 were of Iranian origin. Iran intentionally misled the world by claiming that the Houthis were responsible for the attack last September. This new finding by the UN Secretary-General underscores Iran’s connection to the brazen attack on Saudi Arabia.
The UNSCR 2231 report also concludes that arms and related materiel seized off the coast of Yemen in November 2019 and February 2020 were of Iranian origin. The fact these items were seized outside of Iran is indicative of an arms embargo violation by Iran.
The report also details troubling ballistic missile activity that defies calls the Security Council has made repeatedly on Iran, and it notes equally troubling nuclear activity by Iran, which has ceased performing key nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.
Iran continues to defy the Security Council by providing arms to groups abroad in contravention of the arms embargo, including to proxy groups and terrorist organizations across the Middle East, such as in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain. These groups use Iranian weapons, training, and funding to destabilize the region and spread violence. Failing to extend the arms embargo in light of this activity will risk greater violence and instability in the region. With fewer arms restrictions, Iran will transfer even more weapons.
In light of the report’s findings and Iran’s repeated violations of the arms embargo, the Security Council must act to exert greater pressure on Iran, not less. At no point in the last decade has Iran’s behavior shown it would be appropriate to lift the arms embargo.
The draft resolution circulated by the United States is consistent with United Nations precedent. The UN has maintained arms restrictions on Iran for 13 years. The resolution we have circulated would extend restrictions on Iran indefinitely, until its behavior changes. The embargo should never have been given an arbitrary end date under UNSCR 2231. The restrictions should not be removed until Iran demonstrates a credible change in its behavior.