“With the approach of the expiration date and the Americans’ uproar [against it], we began our consultations and stressed that this is not an issue that Iran would disregard,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a regular press briefing on Monday, IRNA reported.
The arms embargo on Iran is set to expire in October as per UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The US has abandoned the deal, but is now trying to impose its will about the ban’s relaxation by arguing that it still remains an original “participant” under the terms of the resolution that enshrined it.
Along this line, the US State Department has prepared a draft UN resolution that would attempt to strike the expiration from Resolution 2231.
The document, however, needs nine votes in favor by UN Security Council members and no vetoes by Russia, China, Britain or France to be adopted.
“Americans are not likely to achieve their current goal because their request has no legal grounds and they are no longer a party to JCPOA,” Mousavi said.
He added that the end of the arms ban was one of the benefits promised under JCPOA which the US is trying to ruin like other political, economic and security interests that it tried to jeopardize by quitting the deal and reimposing sanctions on Tehran.
“I hope it will not come to that. But if it does, Iran’s response would be fitting and decisive,” he said.
US Presence Destabilizing
On recent tensions between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf, Mousavi said Americans at times disturb the legal and free patrols conducted by Iranian armed forces and receive the required warnings.
“We basically do not acknowledge the US military presence in the Persian Gulf and see it as a disturbance to our security and stability and that of the region, as well as free navigation in the [territorial] waters,” he said.
The US Navy in mid-April accused Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps of “dangerous and provocative actions” against its vessels in the Persian Gulf, threatening to destroy Iranian gunboats in case of harassment.
IRGC rejected the US version of the story, saying the American warships were approaching Iranian waters and ignored warnings when they came into contact with IRGC vessels patrolling the region. It also said Iran would respond decisively to any miscalculation.
Mousavi said Iran maintains communication with the US over the issue through the Swiss Embassy as the representative of American interests in Iran as well as its UN mission in New York.
Concern Over IS Activities
The senior diplomat also expressed concern over the potential return of the self-styled Islamic States terrorists in Iraq after the group killed at least 10 Iraqi militia members in a recent assault.
The incident, according to Mousavi, could be linked to the Iraq’s call for an end to the presence of foreign military forces as they struggle to prove there would be insecurity without them.
“Americans are under the pressure of Iraqi people and seek to prevent or delay their exit by such measures as strengthening IS,” he said.
The Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution, calling on the government to expel foreign troops in early January, after the US assassinated the top Iranian commander, Major General Qasem Soleimani, and his Iraqi companions in Baghdad.
The people of Iraq also took to the streets in protest against the US aggression on their soil.