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GCC countries unite to seek UN extension of Iran arms embargo

Published: Updated:

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has asked the United Nations to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, a move pushed strongly by the United States.

The secretariat of the GCC, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, said in a statement on Sunday that Iran's continued interference in neighboring countries made an extension necessary.

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The arms embargo on Iran is currently set to end on Oct. 18 under Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Washington quit in 2018.

The request, in a letter to the United Nations, is a show of unity from the GCC. In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed political, trade, and transport ties with Qatar over accusations it had been supporting terrorism and cozying up to Iran.

"It is inappropriate to lift restrictions on the supply of weapons from and to Iran until Iran gives up its destabilizing activities in the region and stops supplying terrorist and sectarian organizations with weapons," a statement from GCC Secretary General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf said.

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If the United States is unsuccessful in extending the embargo, it has threatened to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran under a process agreed in the 2015 deal.

The US-drafted resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, which Moscow and Beijing have signaled they will do. Some diplomats question whether Washington can even secure those nine, however.