The top US envoy to Iran said the expiring UN arms embargo against the Islamic Republic should be renewed to prevent it from “becoming the arms dealer of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations” – hours before Tehran issued an arrest warrant for President Trump over the killing of a top general.
“If we let it expire, you can be certain that what Iran has been doing in the dark, it will do in broad daylight and then some,” Brian Hook told The Associated Press on Sunday.
“If we play by Iran’s rules, Iran wins. It is a mafia tactic where people are intimidated into accepting a certain kind of behavior for fear of something far worse,” Hook said about the mullahs’ threats to retaliate if the embargo, which is set to expire in October, is extended.
Hours after his comments, Iran issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for assistance in detaining President Trump and a group of other officials it said was involved in the US drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The top military commander’s Jan. 3 killing in Baghdad prompted Iran to launch missiles at American targets in Iraq.
In retaliation for an extension of the arms embargo, Iran could kick out international inspectors monitoring its nuclear program, deepening a crisis sparked when Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
The UN embargo has so far prevented Iran from buying fighter jets, tanks, and warships, but has failed to stop its smuggling of weapons into war zones.
Despite that, Hook insisted that both an import and export ban on Tehran must remain in place to secure the wider region.
Iran’s mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The AP on Hook’s remarks.
However, President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday described 2020 as his country’s “most difficult year” due to the American economic pressure campaign and the coronavirus pandemic.
Since Trump withdrew from the nuclear accord, Iran has broken all of the pact’s production limits.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Tehran’s nuclear activity as part of the agreement, said the country’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium continues to grow.
Meanwhile, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump and more than 30 others face “murder and terrorism charges,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, according to Al Jazeera.
Alqasimehr also said Iran had requested a “red notice” to be put out for Trump and the others, the highest-level notice issued by Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France.
The international police agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the news outlet.
With Post Wires