Middle East/North Africa

US envoy says UN arms embargo on Iran must be renewed

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The Trump administration’s top envoy to Iran says that an existing U.N. arms embargo against the country set to expire later this year should be renewed.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Brian Hook said that an end to the embargo would lead to Iran openly supplying weapons to militant groups around the Middle East without fear of retribution.

“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,” he told the news service.

“If we play by Iran’s rules, Iran wins,” he continued. “It is a mafia tactic where people are intimidated into accepting a certain kind of behavior for fear of something far worse.”

Hook also appeared to indicate support for crushing economic sanctions against Iran, which the Trump administration put in place following the president’s decision to exit from the 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran, the Obama administration and several European nations.

The sanctions, he said, would force Iran to choose between feeding its own people and supplying arms to conflict areas.

“We have put this regime through our strategy on the horns of a dilemma,” Hook said. “They have to choose between guns in Damascus or butter in Tehran.”

The existing arms embargo is set to expire in October. Top Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been working for months to convince European nations to pass an extension of the restrictions.

Last month, a coalition of hundreds of House lawmakers representing both major parties called on Pompeo to increase his efforts to secure an extension of the embargo.

“America must continue its longstanding, bipartisan leadership in order to limit Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the world,” they wrote. “We look forward to working with you to reauthorize these expiring U.N. restrictions, which are essential to protecting our national security and the American people.”

Tags Brian Hook Iran Mike Pompeo

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