The ban is set to expire in October 2020.
WASHINGTON – An overwhelming majority of members of the United States House of Representatives – 387 out of 435 – sent a letter on Monday to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urging him to renew the soon-to-be expired United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Iran. US House members also called to continue the UN travel restrictions “on those Iranian individuals involved with dangerous proliferation activities.” The ban is set to expire in October 2020.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick led a group of members of Congress calling for continuing the arms embargo. Among the members who signed the letter include Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader, and Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader; Steve Scalise, the Republican Whip; and Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations.
“UN Security Council Resolution 2231 bans arms transfers to and from Iran, yet Iran routinely violates this resolution with impunity, particularly in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen,” the members wrote in their letter. “Iran’s illicit transfers of weapons directly contribute to some of the most destabilizing threats to the United States and our partners in the Middle East such as Israel and the Gulf States,” they added.
“We are also concerned about the expiration of the UN-imposed travel restrictions on some of Iran’s most notorious individuals who have long violated UN proliferation and weapons restrictions,” the letter reads. “The UN travel restrictions allow states to refuse transit to covered individuals, which limits their ability to train, fundraise, and plan around the globe. Restricting their movement is critical to our national security.”
“The UN arms embargo will be the first provision of the Iran nuclear deal to expire,” said Chairman Engel.
“This letter, supported overwhelmingly by both parties in the House, represents an imperative to reauthorize this provision — not through snapback or going it alone – but through a careful diplomatic campaign. The Trump Administration has promised a better deal, and it falls to the administration to solve this crisis, not make it worse. Iran continues to be a danger to the United States, our interests, and our allies. We need a realistic and practical strategy to prevent Iran from becoming a greater menace,” Engel added.
Ranking Member McCaul said, “Nearly every member of the US House of Representatives is in agreement: Iran must not be allowed to buy or sell weapons. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, or even just an American issue. We need to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran for the sake of international peace and security. I am proud the House is speaking with one voice to protect the world against Iran’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) applauded the letter.
“UN Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits Iran from importing heavy weaponry, which would enable further Iranian aggression and destabilization of the region,” AIPAC said in a statement.
“Press reports indicate that Russia and China are eager to resume exports unless the UN arms embargo is extended beyond its October 18 expiration date. UNSCR 2231 also bans all Iranian arms exports, in an effort to thwart terrorist organizations from access to Iranian materiel support,” the statement reads.
“Iran remains the principal obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East. Even under the constraints of the arms embargo, Iran has continued its malign behavior.”