world news U.N. Security Council Rebuffs Pompeo on Iran Arms Ban

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

The embargo, which is set to expire on Oct. 18, stems from the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. President Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, and Iran has exceeded the accord’s limits on uranium enrichment since then, part of a steady escalation of tensions that have at times pushed the two countries dangerously close to war.

The American bid is all but certain to fail in the Security Council; it might not even collect enough support to be put to a vote, diplomats said. The Trump administration has threatened that if the embargo is not extended, the United States will try to invoke a “snapback” provision of the 2015 deal to reimpose former U.N. sanctions on Iran — a move other nations said would be unwise and legally invalid.

Representatives of Britain, France and Germany voiced unease at both the expiration of the embargo and the American approach, particularly the snapback, which they flatly opposed.

The European powers said they hoped to find some way to limit Iranian access to arms through a compromise negotiated in the framework of the 2015 agreement, not an action imposed by the Security Council.

The arms embargo applies to Iran importing or exporting most kinds of weapons, including aircraft and tanks. Some limits on missile and nuclear technology will remain in place for a few more years.

The resistance to Mr. Pompeo’s call — coming not only from only rivals like China and Russia, but also from key allies — illustrates the growing isolation and declining influence of the United States, analysts said, even in dealing with an Iran that members see as a rogue nation destabilizing the region.

U.N. officials presented findings that the missiles used in an attack last September on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities were made in Iran, as were weapons bound for Iran’s Houthi allies in Yemen that were seized by the U.S. Navy. The findings supported the conclusions of Western intelligence agencies.

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