US shares UN embargo bid on Iran with Russia

The United States said Friday it had shared a draft UN resolution with rival Russia that aims to extend an arms embargo on Iran that expires in October.

Moscow has already voiced opposition to prolonging the ban on conventional arms sales to Tehran, with Russian firms expecting to conclude major deals if restrictions end.

Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington had shared a draft resolution on the extension with Russia as well as Western allies Britain, France, Germany and Estonia which are all on the 15-nation Security Council.

"Pretty soon we'll be sharing (with) the full 15. But, you know, we are trying to really work very carefully, very thoroughly," Craft told reporters.

"Russia and China need to join a global consensus on Iran's conduct," she said.

"This is an absolute imperative that we exercise all of our options to make certain that this UN arms embargo is extended."

The arms embargo's expiration date is part of a 2015 UN Security Council resolution that blessed a multinational deal on ending Iran's nuclear program.

The five-year window was a compromise between President Barack Obama's administration and Russia and China, which wanted an immediate end.

President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from the accord, calling it the "worst deal ever."

But his administration has made the novel argument that the United States remains a participant in the deal under the resolution and can trigger UN sanctions for Iran's non-compliance with the 2015 deal -- an option it could take if others do not back the arms embargo.

Iran, which has taken steps away from the 2015 deal in response to unilateral US sanctions imposed by Trump, has warned that the extension of the embargo would mean the death of the nuclear accord.

Iran FM throws ball back in Trump's court on nuclear deal
Washington (AFP) June 5, 2020 - Iran's foreign minister Friday threw the ball back into the US president's court on reaching a new nuclear agreement, after the two countries carried out a prisoner swap.

President Donald Trump had voiced hope for progress with Iran a day earlier, after the Islamic republic released a US Navy veteran and the United States freed two Iranians.

"Thank you to Iran, it shows a deal is possible!" Trump had tweeted.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Trump on Twitter Friday, saying, "We achieved humanitarian swap *despite* your subordinates' efforts".

"And we had a deal when you entered office. Iran & other JCPOA participants never left the table," he said, using an acronym for a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

The multilateral accord, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, gave the Islamic republic relief from international sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear programme.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated in 2018 after Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

The other partners to the accord are Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

"Your advisors - most fired by now - made a dumb bet. Up to you to decide *when* you want to fix it," Zarif added.

Brian Hook, the US pointman on Iran policy, said that the Trump administration has tried unsuccessfully to expand the conversation with Tehran beyond consular matters.

"I think one of the obvious dimensions of doing a consular dialogue with the regime is the opportunity to discuss other issues," Hook told reporters in Washington.

"The regime has not taken us up on this opportunity now. It's unfortunate," he said, adding: "The door remains open."

"We do think that every successfully concluded diplomatic engagement does build confidence."

The Trump administration says it wants a new deal with Iran but has taken a maximalist approach in its demands, including seeking an end to Tehran's regional activities.

In January, Trump ordered a drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.

Hook went to Zurich to bring back US Navy veteran Michael White, who had been arrested in Iran's northeastern city of Mashhad in July 2018.

As he was flying home Thursday, a US federal judge issued an order to free an Iranian-American doctor, Majid Taheri.

A day earlier, a prominent Iranian scientist arrested in 2016 on an academic visit to the United States returned to Iran.

Three more US citizens are known to be imprisoned in Iran. All three are of Iranian origin, so Tehran considers them its own citizens.

"I think the regime probably looks at dual citizens differently than we do. But it's the same level of effort that's applied to all of them," Hook said.

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US Navy veteran leaves Iran day after scientist returns to Tehran
Washington (AFP) June 4, 2020
A US Navy veteran detained in Iran for nearly two years flew out of the country on Thursday following US authorities' release of an Iranian scientist, although the arch-rival nations both denied it was a swap. "I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely on his way home," Michael White's mother, Joanne White, said in a statement. White had tested positive for COVID-19 and received treatment in Iran, said Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador who said he met senior ... read more

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US shares UN embargo bid on Iran with Russia US shares UN embargo bid on Iran with Russia Reviewed by Unknown on 21:50:00 Rating: 5

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