Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions

Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators is urging the United Nations to renew sanctions on Iran that are set to expire in October.

Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections Google, Apple, eBay to meet virtually with lawmakers for tech group's annual fly-in Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Nev.) are introducing a resolution this week calling on the United Nations to “at a minimum” renew the penalties, which include an arms embargo and travel restrictions.

“Clearly the Iranian regime plans on continuing to destabilize the region and provoke America and its allies,” Toomey said in a statement obtained by The Hill ahead of its release. “It would be a grave mistake to allow sanctions against Iran to expire. This bipartisan resolution calls on the United Nations to extend these sanctions and would reaffirm the international community’s opposition to Iranian aggression.”

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At issue is a United Nations Security Council resolution that was passed in 2015 in support of the nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers.

Under the resolution, an arms embargo on Iran, as well as an arms export ban, is set to lift Oct. 18. The resolution also said travel restrictions on officials and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs will expire in October, while an asset freeze on those individuals and groups will expire in 2023.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, kicking off a spike in tensions that came to a head when a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The Trump administration has been urging the United Nations to renew the arms embargo and travel restrictions, warning that allowing the sanctions to expire will let Iran spread what it describes as a destabilizing activity.

Earlier this month, after the U.S. Navy discovered a cache of weapons on board a dhow in the Arabian Sea that it said bore signs of Iranian origin, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump steps up Iran fight in final election stretch MORE tweeted it was “another example of the world’s largest state sponsor of terror the Islamic Republic of Iran continuing to defy the UN Security Council.”

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“The world must reject Iran’s violence and act now to renew the expiring @UN arms embargo on #Iran,” Pompeo added in a second tweet.

Toomey and Rosen’s resolution would state that allowing the U.N. sanctions to expire would “enable Iran to undertake aggressive and destabilizing actions in the Middle East that threaten the security of the United States and that of our allies,” according to a draft obtained by The Hill.

The resolution would also urge “the international community to fully enforce” the restrictions on Iran and “calls upon the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution on Iran that, at a minimum, extends the dates by which the aforementioned restrictions on Iran and on arms technology suppliers” are set to expire.

While the Trump administration has struggled to get international support for its Iran pressure campaign, the European signatories of the nuclear deal earlier this year triggered a dispute mechanism in the agreement that could lead to the reimposition of U.N. sanctions, including the arms embargo.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom turned to the dispute mechanism after Iran breached several key limits of the deal in an effort to pressure the United States to provide sanctions relief or for Europe to find a viable workaround for the U.S. sanctions.

“In the face of increasing threats in the region from Iran and its proxies, the U.S. must remain strong in our resolve,” Rosen said in a statement. “The United Nations arms embargo has limited the flow of sophisticated weapons to Iran and restricted Iran’s ability to provide its proxies with arms. If the embargo expires, Iran will be free under international law to purchase and transfer an array of weapons, posing a threat to the security of the United States and our allies, including Israel.”