The UK has given up trying to get the United Nations Security Council to agree to extend a ban on the sale of conventional arms to Iran, after it became clear that Russia and China were the would-be suppliers.
Diplomats from London, Paris and Berlin had sought to gain agreement from world powers to delay the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran, due to expire this Sunday, but British ministers admitted defeat in the House of Commons.
Middle East Minister James Cleverly said the UK, France and Germany – the E3 – had sought a compromise but that “there was no consensus to extend the embargo”.
Donald Trump’s White House administration withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal struck during the Obama era, under which Iran dismantled its atomic infrastructure in return for an easing of sanctions. Trump has since returned and extended sanctions, whilst also seeking to stop all sales of weapons.
Despite the setback, the minister said that the European arms embargo and the UN ballistic missile restrictions placed upon Iran “remain in place”, as does other prohibitions on the distribution of weapons from Iran to militias such as Hezbollah.
Cleverly said the UK, “alongside our E3 partners, remains concerned about the impact of the expiry on the region”, adding: “We remain committed to countering Iranian proliferation to non-state actors.”
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