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Iran won’t accept violation of UNSC resolution on arms ban, Rouhani warns US

President Hassan Rouhani has warned the United States that Iran will not accept any violation of the UN Security Council resolution that mandates the lifting of an arms embargo against the Islamic Republic, saying the country is absolutely entitled to the ban’s cancellation.

“The United States and other countries should know that Iran will not accept violation of Resolution 2231 under any circumstances,” he told a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday.

“Under the resolution, it is Iran’s absolute right to be soon relieved of the ban,” he added.

Washington has said it is resolved to have the embargo on the sales of conventional weapons to Iran prolonged. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first announced the intention and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters last week, “We are operating under the assumption that we will be able to renew the arms embargo.”

The ban is to expire by October under the resolution that endorsed a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Washington is legally prohibited from seeking its extension as it left the deal in May 2018.

‘Iran’s arms for peace’

The president said any weapons that the country might manufacture or purchase would definitely be used for defensive purposes.

“The weapons are [earmarked for] defending nations. Our weapons do not add fuel to the fire. They [conversely] pour oil on troubled waters, and we would never allow the outbreak of any warfare or tensions,” Rouhani said.

Iran’s response to embargo renewal

If the embargo were to be renewed amid Washington’s pressure, Iran’s response would be “clear,” the president noted, without giving details.

He, however, said he had outlined the response in a letter to leaders of the nuclear agreement’s remaining signatories — the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

“They know what a historic defeat would await them if they were to make such a mistake,” Rouhani said.

On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran would serve a “decisive response” to a potential extension of the arms embargo. “We are waiting to see the direction in which the circumstances are going to develop, and will then act based on them,” he said.

‘US between a rock and a hard place’

The United States is “caught between a rock and a hard place” concerning the JCPOA, Rouhani said, referring to the nuclear accord by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

If the weapons ban were to be removed, the US and the radical parties that promoted its exit from the JCPOA — namely Israel, Saudi Arabia, and America’s Iran hawks — would have to admit that they committed a great mistake by forcing Washington’s withdrawal, Rouhani said.

And if the US were to resort to the JCPOA as a means of enforcing a “snapback” or  restoring all UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, “they have already left the JCPOA and there would be no deal left for them to return to [this time around],” he added.

Washington has realized the mistakes it has perpetrated by opting out of the deal, the chief executive said.

He pointed to Iran’s suspension of its commitments to the nuclear agreement that the country began after the US’s withdrawal and the UK, France, and Germany’s failure to keep up their business ties with Tehran under Washington’s pressure.

The European trio has “to a large extent” failed to uphold its commitments under the JCPOA, but once it resumes honoring the obligations, Iran would do so as well, Rouhani said.

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