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Iran envoy to UN: Softened US resolution can’t get UNSC on board

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi

Iran says a watered-down draft resolution put forward by the US to extend the UN arms embargo on Tehran is similar to the previous version in nature, voicing confidence that the Security Council (UNSC) will reject the unlawful American bid.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks in a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday after Washington backed away from an earlier resolution and proposed a new text in a bid to win the UNSC’s support for the renewal of the embargo.

The ban — in place since 2006/2007 — will expire on October 18 under UNSC Resolution 2231, which enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Rebuffed by UNSC members, US was forced to retreat from its draft resolution on Iran arms embargo, and proposed another version—also violating 2231—today,” Ravanchi said.

He also stressed that the nature and goal of the new US resolution is no different from the previous one.

“The new draft is similar—in its NATURE and GOAL — to the previous,” he said. “Confident that the Council will—again—reject this move.”

On Tuesday, the US streamlined its bid to get the Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran as diplomatic sources and political experts said the text will fail to secure the nine votes required at the 15-member Security Council.

Russia and China have already signaled that they would veto the resolution even if it gets enough ‘Yes’ votes.

The Financial Times reported that the new draft comprising four terse paragraphs in place of the earlier 13-page draft circulated among UNSC member states. 

It also dropped tough language against Iran, attempting to enlist other countries to conduct vessel inspections and weapons seizures and listing specific Iranians for travel bans and asset freezes, the report added.

The vote was expected to take place on Tuesday, but diplomats at the UN later said it could take place as soon as Thursday or Friday.

‘Don’t let the text’s brevity fool you!’

In a series of tweets, Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group, said the new motion is “ostensibly a climbdown” for the Security Council.

“But @USUN knew its maximalist text would fail, and was leaning on at least 2 other #UNSC members to table some sort of lighter arms embargo extension like this yesterday. They evidently said no, which is a small embarrassment for the US, as it has had to table this itself,” he added.

Gowan was referring to Washington’s failed attempt to persuade Security Council members Estonia or Tunisia to submit the anti-Iran resolution. 

“Don’t let the brevity of the new US draft fool you. The key point is that it authorizes an indefinite extension of the Iran arms embargo (meant to drop on 18 October under the JCPOA) and China and Russia will not like that,” he said.

“Only way I see this passing in the #UNSC is if there is some side deal with Iran offering incentives to accept an embargo extension. There is noise about compromises via the E3, but E3 were said to be working on their own text. So good chance this US draft will fail by Friday.”

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