Short-term extension of Iran arms embargo not enough: US official

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Washington is looking for more than a temporary extension on Iran's arms embargo, the top US diplomat said Wednesday.

“Our objective is not to extend the arms embargo for another short period of time. That’s how we got into this mess, right,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in during a briefing.

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Pompeo was speaking just a day after he warned the UN Security Council of the dangers that would arise if the arms embargo, set to expire in October, was not extended.

“The arms embargo should be lifted when the Islamic Republic of Iran begins to behave in a way that is consistent with the ability to move arms around the world, to purchase – to act in a way that’s consistent with the way normal nations act,” Pompeo said Wednesday.

But if the arms embargo is not extended, Pompeo said that the US was “prepared to lead to come up with responses” to the risks against the nonproliferation regime.

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In his speech to the UNSC, Pompeo said that Iran would be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets “putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.”

Pompeo said the US is in a “full-fledged diplomatic effort” to convince the world that the embargo should be extended. “Go talk to our partners in Saudi Arabia or the Emirates and Kuwait. They know, too, that if Iran is allowed to become an arms merchant again, instability in the Middle East will flow.”

“If Iran is allowed to buy weapons from the likes of China and Russia, more civilians in the Middle East will die at the hands of the regime and its proxies. It’s that straightforward,” he said.

During his speech to the UNSC on Wednesday, the US diplomat cautioned against allowing the embargo to expire. “If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000-kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs,” he said.

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