Office of the Spokesperson
“It is certainly a full-fledged diplomatic effort that we’re engaged in to convince the world that this is the right outcome not just for the United States, but 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.”
– Secretary Pompeo, Remarks to the Press, July 1, 2020
PLEASE SEE NEW VIDEO ON IRAN ARMS EMBARGO HERE.
SECRETARY POMPEO’S REMARKS AT STATE DEPARTMENT PODIUM BRIEFING, JULY 1.
- I want to note three brutal honor killings that have taken place in Iran: 14-year-old Romina Ashrafi, 19-year-old Fatemeh Barhi, and 22-year-old Rayhaneh Ameri. Two were beheaded and one was beaten to death with an iron bar at the hands of relatives. For 40 years, corrupt Iranian leaders have condoned murder, dehumanized women, and ignored cries for justice. When will they stop this unspeakable wicked assault on human dignity?
- Staying on Iran: As many of you saw yesterday, I spoke to the UN Security Council, urging them to retain the 13-year-old arms embargo on Iran. These restrictions, as a result of the failed JCPOA, are set to expire in October.
- 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. Tehran will become an arms dealer for the Maduros and Assads of the world. Sworn enemies of Israel like Hamas and Hizballah will be better armed. European nations will be put at risk.
- Our team has put together a short video that explains why this is so important. I’d like to show it to you now.
- So when you all hear about legal niceties and complexities and intra – international fighting about what the right course of action is, remind yourself about what happens to the world if this arms embargo is lifted. In the end, that’s what matters. In the end, that’s what the UN Security Council has the capacity to ensure does not take place. I remind you to go back and look at remarks from the previous administration about the fact that the United States has the unambiguous right, without the consent of any other nation, to ensure that this arms embargo stays in place. This administration is going to do everything we can to make sure that that happens to keep not only American people safe but to reduce instability in the Middle East.
QUESTION: I have two for you on Iran if I may. One, on the arms embargo. I was curious if the U.S. is willing to accept a temporary extension to potentially get Russia and China to go along with it. I was hoping you could get into the specifics of what terms are acceptable. And on the larger nuclear violations that the U.S. and now the IAEA have identified, are we looking at a menu of options for repercussions for this, and specifically, might snapback be one of those options on the menu? I was hoping you could touch on that specifically, because it seems some are making the argument that snapback accounts for the arms embargo and of course all other restrictions. So I was hoping you could talk about that a bit.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, first of all, our objective is not to extend the arms embargo for another short period of time. That’s how we got into this mess, right. 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.
So it’s not a time-limited matter, it’s a conditions-based matter, and our objective is to make sure that the lifting of that arms embargo is conditions-based. And when the time is right, happy to let it happen tomorrow, but extending it for six months or a year or two years fundamentally falls into the same trap that the previous administration fell into. I know this is a bit of a strawman argument: What if you got 20 years, what if you got 50 years, what if you got 100 years? I don’t want to talk about anything specific. But our objective is very clearly to say that the lifting of that arms embargo is not appropriate until such time as the world can be assured that these folks won’t use those weapon systems or the money that flows from the sale of those weapon systems are for malign purposes.
As for the other provisions, what’s happening at the IAEA, make sure everybody’s up to speed. The IAEA filed a report that made very clear that the Iranians have failed to allow access to two sites that are suspected of potentially having engaged in nuclear activity related to their previous programs, programs that predate the JCPOA. The Iranians continue to deny access to the IAEA. This is not about the JCPOA, this is about the NPT framework, the safeguards provisions that every nuclear power signs up for and that the Iranians have agreed to. This is outside and separate from the JCPOA. It’s never been the case before that a regime has denied access to the IAEA. And so, yes, in terms of how we’re thinking about responding, we hope the world will see that this is a serious risk to the entire nonproliferation regime, and the United States is prepared to lead to come up with responses to this which would be appropriate and consistent with protecting and preserving that regime against Iranian intransigence that is entirely inappropriate.
I hope the Iranians will change their mind to allow full IAEA unfettered, repeated, consistent access. To date, they’ve chosen not to do so.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, yesterday following your speech at the Security Council, the German representative said the U.S. has no standing in this meeting to invoke UN sanctions, and by doing so you would be violating the international law. How do you comment on that? And to what extent would the snapback be efficient if it is not supported by your allies, by your European allies?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So two things. I don’t want to get into the legal analysis that you’re suggesting. We have the full authority to go exercise that right. As a participant in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, we are highly confident that we have the right to exercise that. It is not our first objective. We hope that the UN Security Council, the Chinese, the Russians, every partner there, will see that it is in their best interest to deny Iran this benefit that comes when they have not changed their behavior one lick. And so we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to do this without having to go through a complex, difficult process at the UN. So that’s our – certainly our objective. And we think – we think we’ll prevail.
We think as we get closer, the world will see – if you are a citizen living in Brussels or you’re someone in Athens, do you really want the Iranian regime to have Chinese fighter planes? I don’t think so. I think – I think the Government of Greece will conclude the same thing. If you’re – if you’re sitting in Finland and you’re trying to sort your way through about whether it’s a good idea for the Russians to be able to have another partner who they sell weapons to, I think these – I think each nation will conclude this is a bad idea, they will regret that the JCPOA allowed this to expire, and they’ll join us in this.
It is certainly a full-fledged diplomatic effort that we’re engaged in to convince the world that this is the right outcome not just for the United States, but 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.
UNITED STATES SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAN AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE SECRETARY BRIAN HOOK VISITED VIENNA, AUSTRIA, ON JULY 1, 2020, FOR CONSULTATIONS ON IRAN.
- Special Representative Hook met with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg to discuss the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran. Hook also met with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi to discuss the IAEA’s verification work in Iran and express full support for the Agency’s professionalism and objectivity. The Iranian regime must comply with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, and Additional Protocol by providing the IAEA with the information and access required under its agreements.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAN AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE SECRETARY BRIAN HOOK VISITS ISRAEL FOR CONSULTATIONS ON IRAN, JULY 1.
- Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook held discussions on Iran with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, Israel on June 30, 2020.
- Special Representative Hook and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed joint efforts to counter Iranian malign activity in the region and deny Iran the resources it needs to fuel terrorism and fund proxies. They also discussed the importance of extending the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire on October 18, 2020. The United States and Israel are committed to ensuring arms restrictions on Iran do not expire. Special Representative Hook and Foreign Minister Ashkenazi discussed the ongoing diplomatic cooperation between Israel and the United States across a range of areas and underscored our shared values and interests. Special Representative Hook reiterated the United States’ steadfast commitment to Israel’s security.
FACTSHEET: UN REPORT EXPOSES IRAN’S DEFIANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS, JUNE 30.
- This latest report on UNSCR 2231 implementation, published by the United Nations Secretary-General based on an impartial evaluation of the available evidence, confirms what the United States has said all along: Iran continues to use its arsenal of conventional weapons to destabilize the Middle East and foment sectarian violence and terrorism across the region.
- The report determines that the weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 were of Iranian origin. Iran intentionally misled the world by claiming that the Houthis were responsible for the attack last September. This new finding by the UN Secretary-General underscores Iran’s connection to the brazen attack on Saudi Arabia.
- The UNSCR 2231 report also concludes that arms and related materiel seized off the coast of Yemen in November 2019 and February 2020 were of Iranian origin. The fact these items were seized outside of Iran is indicative of an arms embargo violation by Iran.
- The report also details troubling ballistic missile activity that defies calls the Security Council has made repeatedly on Iran, and it notes equally troubling nuclear activity by Iran, which has ceased performing key nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.
- Iran continues to defy the Security Council by providing arms to groups abroad in contravention of the arms embargo, including to proxy groups and terrorist organizations across the Middle East, such as in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain. These groups use Iranian weapons, training, and funding to destabilize the region and spread violence. Failing to extend the arms embargo in light of this activity will risk greater violence and instability in the region. With fewer arms restrictions, Iran will transfer even more weapons.
- In light of the report’s findings and Iran’s repeated violations of the arms embargo, the Security Council must act to exert greater pressure on Iran, not less. At no point in the last decade has Iran’s behavior shown it would be appropriate to lift the arms embargo.
- The draft resolution circulated by the United States is consistent with United Nations precedent. The UN has maintained arms restrictions on Iran for 13 years. The resolution we have circulated would extend restrictions on Iran indefinitely, until its behavior changes. The embargo should never have been given an arbitrary end date under UNSCR 2231. The restrictions should not be removed until Iran demonstrates a credible change in its behavior.
REMARKS BY SECRETARY MICHAEL R. POMPEO AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE IRAN ARMS EMBARGO, JUNE 30.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Nicolas. Thanks for the couple words in English there. I appreciate that.
Good morning, everyone. Good to see you, Secretary General. Rosemary, thank you for your comments this morning. I would like to say you made some comments about humanitarian assistance inside of Iran. The United States has tried to facilitate that, in light of the COVID issues inside of Iran. Indeed, we offered our own American assistance to the Iranians, which was rejected by them. So to suggest somehow that our sanctions have prevented humanitarian assistance to get into Iran I think is a misunderstanding of the situation on the ground.
Because of the flawed nuclear deal negotiated by the previous American administration, the arms embargo on the world’s most heinous terrorist regime is scheduled to expire on October 18th, a mere four months from now. Four months.
This chamber has a choice: Stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations’ founders intended, or let the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran expire, betraying the UN’s mission and its finest ideals, which we have all pledged to uphold.
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.
Iran will be free to upgrade and expand its fleet of submarines to further threaten international shipping and freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.
Iran will be free to purchase new and advanced technologies for its proxies and partners throughout the Middle East, including Hamas, Hizballah, and the Houthis.
Iran will hold a sword of Damocles over the economic stability of the Middle East, endangering nations like Russia and China that rely on stable energy prices.
Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan.
In November of last year, President Rouhani himself said, quote, “When the embargo . . . is lifted next year, we can easily buy and sell weapons,” end of quote. We should take him at his word.
Iran is not a responsible democracy like Australia or India. We already know that Tehran will do, if given the ability to buy more weaponry.
Just consider the secretary general’s UNSCR 2231 report that we’re discussing today. The report confirmed that weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 were of Iranian origin. The report has also confirmed the weapons interdicted off the coast of Yemen in November of 2019 and February 2020 were of Iranian origin.
Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date. Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions were lifted.
And we don’t need the secretary general’s report to see what else the regime is doing. In January, Iran launched an attack on the coalition forces in Iraq with its own advanced missiles.
Iran, even as we sit here today, supplies Shia militia groups like Kata’ib Hizballah – groups which have launched dozens of rocket attacks since the fall of last year against U.S. and coalition forces fighting the important continued important campaign against Daesh.
Iran unleashes ship-mining attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman, as it did in May and June of last year.
Nearly all countries have arms. Mature nations use them for defensive purposes and to promote stability.
But not the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Don’t just take it from me or from the United States; listen to countries in the region. From Israel to the Gulf, countries in the Middle East – who are most exposed to Iran’s predations – are speaking with a single voice: Extend the arms embargo.
This council has a responsibility to listen to them.
The United States’ overwhelming preference is to work with this council to extend the arms embargo to protect human life, to protect our national security, and to protect yours.
We’ve imposed arms restrictions on Tehran in various forms for 13 years, and with good reason, and to substantial effect.
When we unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1747 back in 2007 – which, among other actions, prohibited arms transfers from Iran – the United Kingdom’s representative to the council said, quote, “The path of proliferation by Iran is not one that the international community can accept,” end of quote.
I welcome the statement from the United Kingdom, from France and Germany, recently recognizing that lifting the embargo would have major implications for regional security and stability.
I also welcome the support of almost 400 members of the United States Congress. For those of you not tracking, there’s only 435. Those almost 400 members supported my diplomacy to extend this arms embargo. Our concern is a matter of national security, not partisan politics.
We saw from Iran’s actions while implementing the JCPOA that the regime doesn’t moderate when we lift sanctions or weaken accountability.
In fact, it does just the opposite.
While still claiming to remain in the deal, Iran, by its own admission, and as confirmed by the IAEA, is showing no signs of slowing its destabilizing nuclear escalation.
Iran is also accumulating dangerous knowledge. For example, late last year Iran announced that its scientists were working on a new centrifuge – the IR-9 – that would allow Tehran to enrich uranium up to 50 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuges allowed under the JCPOA.
Even as Iran pursues research that could threaten its breakout time to a nuclear weapon, it’s also denied IAEA inspections access to locations Iran is obligated to provide.
This council cannot simply hope that Iran acts in good faith, given its indisputable fact pattern.
The council must hold Iran accountable. And we all have the chance to do so.
I’ll close with this. I’ll close with an appeal to our greater purpose.
Article I of the UN Charter says the purpose of the UN is to “take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to … peace.”
Consider the overwhelming evidence that I’ve detailed today. It’s a fraction of the evidence available. If Iran isn’t a threat to peace that demands a collective measure, I do not know what is.
The council must reject extortion diplomacy. President Rouhani recently declared, quote, “Iran will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended.” End of quote.
Given the Iranian regime’s history of resorting to terrorism and violence, perhaps we should take this threat seriously. Iran’s foreign minister will speak today. I hope he’ll tell us – I hope he’ll tell us whom he intends to crush and how he will crush them.
Renewing the embargo will exert more pressure on Tehran to start behaving like a normal nation.
The world needs this to happen. The long-suffering Iranian people need this to happen.
Seventy-five years ago, the founders of the UN came together after the devastation of World War II to ensure that the world would never again have to face such horrors.
Let’s not shrink from the challenge before us simply because the path ahead seems hard.
Let’s uphold the mission of this body to address the threats to international peace and security that the Islamic Republic of Iran presents.
And let’s take real action in the name of this council by extending the arms embargo.
Thank you all for allowing me to be here today.
THE UNITED STATES AND THE KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON IRAN ARMS EMBARGO FOLLOWING CONSULTATIONS
- Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State of the United States, Brian Hook, held discussions on Iran with His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister and His Excellency Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani on June 29, 2020. At the conclusion of the consultations, the Governments of the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain released the following joint statement:
- The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain share a strong and enduring commitment to countering Iranian aggression. The Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to undermine the stability and security of Bahrain by fomenting sectarian tensions and providing arms to proxy groups and terrorists. Yet despite Iran’s efforts, Bahrain has remained true to its values and continues to prioritize the peaceful coexistence and religious freedom of all its people. The United States remains committed to Bahrain’s security and to our deep and effective partnerships to counter Iran-backed terror.
- In recognizing the grave threat posed by Iranian arms transfers in the region broadly and in Bahrain specifically, the United States and Bahrain call upon the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires. The embargo is an important tool to counter Iran’s proliferation of arms to proxies. It promotes greater regional stability and holds Iran accountable for its actions. We have seen what Iran is capable of in its attack on Saudi oil facilities in September 2019. If the international community fails to extend the embargo, the Kingdom of Bahrain and neighboring partners will suffer the consequences of a destabilizing arms race. The Security Council must uphold its responsibility to maintain international peace and security and extend the arms embargo on Iran.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAN AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE SECRETARY BRIAN HOOK VISITS THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA FOR CONSULTATIONS ON IRAN, JUNE 29.
- Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, Brian Hook, held discussions on Iran with His Royal Highness Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, His Highness Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, His Excellency Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, and His Excellency Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 29, 2020.
- Special Representative Hook and Saudi officials highlighted the importance of extending the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, which expires on October 18, 2020. They discussed joint diplomatic efforts at the UN and around the world to extend the embargo. Saudi officials briefed Special Representative Hook on their commitment to a political solution to the conflict in Yemen and de-escalating violence. Special Representative Hook reaffirmed the United States’ support of a negotiated end to the conflict and condemned recent Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia. He further reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security and stability of Saudi Arabia.
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR IRAN AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE SECRETARY BRIAN HOOK VISITS THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES FOR CONSULTATIONS ON IRAN, JUNE 28.
- United States Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook visited the United Arab Emirates June 27-28, 2020. During the visit, Special Representative Hook met with His Highness Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Excellency Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak. They discussed extending the UN arms embargo on Iran, which expires on October 18, 2020. Special Representative Hook updated Emirati officials on diplomatic efforts to extend the embargo and they discussed the risk of an arms race in the region if the embargo is not renewed.
@SecPompeo July 1
The Iranian regime doesn’t deserve to have its arms embargo lifted- it hasn’t abided by current restrictions and continues to commit violations. Iran cannot be trusted to act like a responsible nation when it continues threatening other nations and supporting terrorist activity.
@statedeptspox July 1
The Iranian regime cannot be trusted to act like a normal nation without restrictions. @SecPompeo made it clear to the UN Security Council: The long-suffering Iranian people and the rest of the world need the arms embargo to be renewed to ensure peace and stability.
@SecPompeo June 26
Iran’s refusal to cooperate is separate from the JCPOA; this is all about whether Iran is honoring its own legally binding safeguards obligations. If Iran fails to cooperate with its IAEA obligations, the international community must be prepared to take further action.