US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to address the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday in an effort to convince its members to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October. The expiry date was set by a 2015 multilateral accord aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons, the assumption being that if the accord succeeded, there would be less of a need for the embargo. However, in 2018, the United States withdrew from the deal, believing it insufficiently strict and complaining that it should have covered the development of ballistic missiles, the most likely delivery vehicle for a nuclear weapon. In withdrawing, Washington reinstated harsh economic sanctions against Iran. While the 2015 accord remains in effect with the other signatories, which include, inter alia, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France – all Security Council members with veto powers – Iran last summer began deviating from the agreement’s restrictions on uranium enrichment, including purity and stockpile size, as well as the use of advanced centrifuges. Both Moscow and Beijing have indicated that they do not want the arms embargo extended.
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