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US envoy calls for renewal of Iran arms embargo

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An expiring United Nations weapons embargo on Iran must remain in place to prevent it from “becoming the arms dealer of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations around the world,” the US special representative to Iran says.

Brian Hook tells The Associated Press that the world should ignore Iran’s threats to retaliate if the arms embargo set to expire in October is extended, calling it a “mafia tactic.” Among its options, the Islamic Republic could expel international inspectors monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, deepening a crisis created by US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing from Tehran’s 2015 atomic accord with global powers.

The UN arms embargo so far has stopped Iran from purchasing fighter jets, tanks, warships and other weaponry, but has failed to halt its smuggling of weapons into war zones. Despite that, Hook argues both an import and export ban on Tehran must remain in place to secure the wider Mideast.

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Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, speaks at the Iranian Materiel Display at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“If we let it expire, you can be certain that what Iran has been doing in the dark, it will do in broad daylight and then some,” Hook says.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hook’s remarks.

Hook makes the comments while on a visit to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the US-allied United Arab Emirates, as part of a Mideast tour. Hook met yesterday with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and plans to meet with other officials today. Hook declines to say where else he will travel on his trip.

The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. That blocked Iran from replacing its aging equipment, much of which had been purchased by the shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms exports.

— AP


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