Political Economy Journal: Russian Federation and Iran Arms Embargo

BY: Daniel Ranjbar

PEJOURNAL – In October 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) ended a five-year length of an embargo on exports – the import of heavy weapons and army equipment. However, already five months earlier than this date, the United States is making active efforts to prolong this legislative act through the UN Security Council.

The United States voiced a position on this issue as early as April 25, 2020. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a separate statement on Iran’s space program. In this statement, he called on the “peace-loving countries” to extend the embargo on Iran’s purchase of weapons, which ends in October 2020.[1]

This process requires the prior permission of the UN Security Council. This method was once introduced as a section of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan for the Iranian Nuclear Program that was signed via Iran and the five plus one countries in 2015, Iran pledged to limit its nuclear software in exchange for lifting the sanctions imposed in opposition to it.

Nevertheless, the administration of US President Donald Trump takes a tough stance in The UN Security Council on the problem of extending and tightening the embargo against Iran, warning that its lifting will allow Tehran to accumulate weapons that will cause gasoline conflicts in the Middle East.

The cutting-edge scenario in the Middle East and the incapability of the United States to reach a final agreement with Iran on issues that caused them to withdraw from the nuclear agreement in May 2018 are forcing Americans to insist on extending and tightening the palms embargo towards Tehran.

A bit of history related to the anti-Iran embargo. “IRI throughout the 41 years of its existence has been and is under various forms of sanctions, both international and unilateral, primarily from the United States. Immediately after the Islamic revolution, the United West imposed an embargo on the supply of any weapons to Iran. After the Iran- Iraq War (1980-1988), China and Russia became the main partners in military-technical cooperation (MTC) with Iran.”[2]

On Wednesday, May 10, Iran referred to as on Russia and China to help counter pressure from the United States, which desires to prolong the UN arms embargo on Tehran, “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged UN Security Council members, particularly Russia and China, with veto power, to oppose the United States conspiracy to extend the arms embargo on Tehran.”[3]

BakuToday already reported the opinion of Russia on this issue. “According to Vasily Nebenzi , Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations , Moscow sees no reason to extend the international arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nebenzya said this at a press conference on May 12.”[4]

Russia’s position on this issue is quite logical. A special procedure for the purchase and sale of weapons and military equipment by Iran was introduced as part of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan for the Iranian Nuclear Program, from which the United States unilaterally withdrew in August 2018.

When trying to extend the arms embargo against Iran in the UN Security Council, the United States does not have an easy road. This was announced last month by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Ryabkov. “Of course, we know that senior officials of the US administration, authoritative diplomats representing this country are looking at alternatives, including the one mentioned in the issue of extending the arms embargo against Iran,” Ryabkov said then. – Our position is very clear: it is impossible for anyone to selectively, extremely fragmentarily implement UN Security Council resolutions. And the United States has been in a state of gross violation of UN Security Council resolutions for more than two years. ”

According to a senior Russian diplomat, the overwhelming majority of members of the international community share Moscow’s position and “Washington will not have an easy road here anyway.” At the same time, he agreed with the conclusion that, taking into account “American stubbornness” in the UN as a whole, another crisis is brewing.[5]

According to one of famous writer in InoSMI.ru

“There is a high likelihood that the United States will be able to extend the arms embargo against Iran due to the inability of other UN Security Council member countries to resist them. Recall that they could not influence the US sanctions policy on Iran, which has been actively pursued recently. Moreover, Iran’s allies, in particular Russia and China, today seek to weaken Iran rather than destroy, as they seek to obtain all the benefits and advantages in the region, the most important of which are talks about post-war Syria and strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States. Thus, the international trend is to divide production from any Iranian sphere of influence.”[6]

But Russian MFA have a bit different opinion about these situations, “It is gratifying that the United States has not completely lost its understanding of the significance of Security Council decisions, which, in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter, are binding on all countries, including the United States.”  And in this comment we can find “However, it is unfortunate that Washington continues to ignore the will of the Security Council when it comes to its own obligations by the United States and its flagrant violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for the Settlement of the Iranian Nuclear Program (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.”[7]

The goal of isolating Iran, putting pressure on it, and depriving legitimate rights to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and self-defense has never been set. Otherwise, Tehran would never agree to a “nuclear deal,” which was and remains an equal agreement.

At the end MFA clearly show the position of Russia in this case: “Attempts to fan the military threat emanating from Iran are accompanied by a favorite US foreign policy reception – complaints against Russia and China, unsubstantiated allegations that their cooperation with Tehran will certainly provoke an arms race in the Middle East and will play into the hands of terrorists. The United States, as usual, prefers to speculate about its multibillion-dollar supply of weapons to the Middle East, which turned it into a “powder keg”, in the sense that it is “only business” and “stabilizing actions”.

As aforementioned, Russia doesn’t see any reason to extend these sanctions. October 18, 2020 will become a serious milestone in global relations. The US layout to prolong the fingers embargo in opposition to Iran is infrequently feasible. However, this does not imply at all that the United States will no longer tighten its sanctions towards Iran, as nicely as in opposition to its counterparties in the military-technical cooperation. Secondary sanctions will additionally affect those countries, as well as those persons and criminal entities that have ties with the contributors of the military-technical cooperation with Iran.

The strain policy of President Trump’s administration, aimed at extending the anti-Iranian arms embargo, will in the end spoil the JCPOA and ultimately initiate the intensification of the Iranian nuclear program with the prospect of developing its army component, which can lead to unpredictable consequences in the place and the world.

The US presidential election is scheduled for November 3, 2020 – almost precisely three weeks after October 18, 2020. This is a serious milestone for the election race, extremely vital for US policy towards Iran and, accordingly, for the fate of the anti-Iran embargo and all that is connected with it.


[1] https://regnum.ru/news/polit/2948414.html

[2] http://newsruss.ru/doc/index.php 

[3] https://inosmi.ru/politic/20200616/247606346.html

[4] https://regnum.ru/news/polit/2948414.html

[5] https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2020/06/15/iran-nazval-svoyu-krasnuyu-liniyu-v-sovbeze-oon-otmetiv-rol-rossii-i-kitaya

[6] https://inosmi.ru/politic/20200616/247606346.html

[7] https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/un/-/asset_publisher/U1StPbE8y3al/content/id/4067949

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