Pompeo warns of sanctions for any arms sales to Iran



In this file photo US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department on October 14th, in Washington, DC. [Manuel Balce Ceneta/POOL/AFP]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday (October 18th) said arms sales to Iran would breach UN resolutions and result in sanctions, after Iran said the longstanding UN embargo on arms trade with it had expired.

"The US is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran," Pompeo said in a statement.

"Every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East and supports the fight against terrorism should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran."

The embargo on the sale of conventional arms to Iran was due to begin expiring progressively from October 18th under terms of the UN resolution that confirmed the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Tehran, which could now purchase weapons from Russia, China and elsewhere, has hailed the expiration as a diplomatic victory over the US, which had tried to maintain an indefinite freeze on arms sales.

President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal in 2018 and has unilaterally begun reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Pompeo said that "for the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various UN measures".

"Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security," he said.

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