02:20 GMT08 July 2020
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    The Trump administration has ramped up its pressure against Iran along two tracks, accusing Tehran of violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, and seeking to extend the Security Council arms embargo against the Islamic Republic past its October deadline.

    The US has not only violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal and “bullied” others into doing the same, but earned the “dishonour of being the first” nation “in UN history to punish law-abiding countries for NOT violating a Security Council resolution”, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said in a Tweet.

    The foreign minister promised to “present Iran’s case” to the Security Council later on Tuesday at about 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to discuss Resolution 2231, the UN measure which approved the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment not to pursue the production of nuclear weapons. Among Resolution 2231’s commitments is a pledge to lift the Security Council arms embargo against Iran in October 2020.

    Zarif’s comments followed renewed warnings by US special representative for Iran Brian Hook on Monday in which he alleged that lifting the Security Council’s ban on the export of conventional weapons to Iran would “embolden the regime and create greater instability in the region”. On Tuesday, Hook reiterated his concerns, telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that lifting the embargo would allow Tehran to “freely import fighter jets, attack helicopters, warships, submarines” and other weapons and ship them to Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, or any number of other militias which the US and Israel classify as terrorist groups.

    In addition to accusing Iran of violating its commitments under the JCPOA, the US is making the legal case that it effectively remains a party to the nuclear deal, notwithstanding President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018. Zarif has previously criticised the administration’s convoluted logic on the issue, suggesting that it was “not unexpected of those advising people to drink or inject disinfectants to fight the coronavirus to come forward and say they are still a party to the agreement after officially leaving it”. Russia and China have similarly indicated that they don’t buy the US’s rationale, and hinted that they would block any attempt to extend the embargo.

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