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US Urges More Maximum Pressure On Iran, Russia And China Unimpressed

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US Urges More Maximum Pressure On Iran, Russia And China Unimpressed

US Secretary of State Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on the UN to extend sanctions on Iran, claiming that if this is not done Iran could obtain advanced fighter aircraft from Russia or China and would be in a position to threaten Europe and Asia.

Senior officials of the Trump administration are continuing with their all-out efforts to force Iran to change its policies in accordance with US demands or face economic ruin or even a military attack. Most recently Pompeo twitted:

The US State Department’s ‘Bureau of Counterterrorism’ has also just released a new report which claims that Iran is a major sponsor of terrorist groups around the world:

As part of the maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime – the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism – the United States and our partners imposed new sanctions on Tehran and its proxies.  In April, the United States designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) – the first time such a designation has been applied to part of another government.  And throughout the year, a number of countries in Western Europe and South America joined the United States in designating Iran-backed Hizballah as a terrorist group in its entirety. LINK

The 13-year-old arms restrictions imposed on Iran by the Security Council are due to expire in October under the terms of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal. Senior US officials and diplomats are trying hard to persuade or force the rest of the international community to support its policy against Iran and extrend the arms embargo:

Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the “road to dystopia” by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

He further claimed: “We see a widening gap between Russia and China and the international community.”

“Russia and China were isolated at the (International Atomic Energy Agency) last week and they will be isolated in the Security Council if they continue down this road to dystopia.”

Nonetheless, their efforts are unlikely to succeed as Russia and China, who are also subjected to punitive unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, have signalled they oppose extending the embargo. A council resolution needs nine votes in favour to be adopted, and is also subject to possible veto by the United States, China, Russia, Britain or France.

“There is no possibility for its adoption,” said a Chinese diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, after Hook and Craft briefed council envoys. “The U.S. draft resolution is in essence a continuation of the U.S. maximum pressure policy [on Iran] and it has no value or basis for discussion.”

Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Russia and China to resist Washington’s push, pledging to “increase our defence capabilities as we have been doing so even under sanctions.”

The IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors on Friday called on Iran to allow the U.N. nuclear watchdog access to two sites suspected of nuclear weapons activities, and to cooperate fully. Iranian allies Russia and China opposed that move but could not block it.

On Wednesday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologises for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran, at the same time cautioning that U.S. calls for discussions were insincere.

The confrontation between Tehran and Washington has worsened since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed strict unilateral sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Iran has refused to hold any talks with the United States unless it lifts sanctions on Tehran and returns to the original agreement.

In retaliation for Washington’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy, Iran has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments, a process Tehran says is reversible if the European parties to the pact carry out their promises to shield Iran’s economy from US penalties. Rouhani has however accused the European countries of surrendering to US pressure and failing to fulfil the commitments that they made to Iran in the JCPOA.

Rouhani also criticized a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency passed last Friday that called on Iran to stop denying the agency access to two suspected former nuclear sites.

Meanwhile, relations between Iran and Venezuela continue to diversify and strengthen in spite of the US campaign against both countries. Telesur reports that a cargo ship from Iran laden with food and other consumer goods has entered Venezuelan waters:

Iranian Ambassador in Caracas Hojjatollah Soltani confirmed the arrival of the ship “Golsan” in Venezuelan waters with a food load destined to open the Islamic Republic’s first supermarket in the South American nation.

“The ship, which left last May 15 from the Iran port of Bandar Abbas, is already approaching La Guaira, in Venezuela,” Soltani said.

As part of the agreements between Tehran and Caracas, the Golsan will arrive loaded with consumer goods to supply the Persian nation’s first commercial centre in Venezuela. LINK

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