The world community should oppose the United States’ use of sanctions to impose its will as a “bully,” or expect to face sanctions itself, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.
Separately the chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards rejected as a “bluff” any possibility of a military conflict with the United States.
US President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order allowing him to impose US sanctions on anyone violating an arms embargo against Iran, which is set to expire in October, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The Trump administration says that on Saturday all United Nations sanctions on Iran have to be restored and the conventional arms embargo will no longer expire in mid-October.
“The Americans, as a rule, act as a bully and impose sanction… The world community should decide how to act towards bullying,” Zarif told Iranian state television hours before the US move aiming to restore UN sanctions against Iran.
“As they (other countries) will face the same thing tomorrow when America takes the same action towards the Nord Stream project, as well as other projects because a bully will continue to act as a bully if he is allowed to do it once,” Zarif said.
The United States and many European countries oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which they say will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.
“No power, including the United States, has the conditions to impose a new war on the Iranian nation, so people should not worry about these exaggerated bluffs by the US president,” said Revolutionary Guards Commander Hossein Salami, quoted by the semi-official news agency ISNA.
Salami was apparently reacting to a tweet by Trump this week in which he said any Iranian attack against the United States would be met by a response “1 000 times greater in magnitude.”
US pushes ahead with bid to extend Iran arms embargo though support unclear
The United States is pushing ahead with its bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran by way of a second draft UN Security Council resolution, despite what some diplomats say is a lack of enthusiasm for such a move among its 15 members.
The US-drafted resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, which Moscow and Beijing have signaled they will do. Some diplomats question whether Washington can even secure those nine, however.
“We have tabled a resolution that we think accomplishes what we think needs to be accomplished,” US Iran envoy Brian Hook told the Aspen Security Forum, held virtually, on Wednesday.
“The easy way is to do a rollover of the arms embargo. It’s not difficult, there are all the reasons in the world to do it. But we will do this one way or another.”
The arms embargo on Iran is currently set to end on October 18 under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Washington quit in 2018.
The second draft circulated by Washington is virtually unchanged from the first text shared with the council in June.
If the United States is unsuccessful in extending the embargo, it has threatened to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran under a process agreed in the 2015 deal.
Such a move would kill the deal, touted as a way to suspend Tehran’s suspected drive to develop nuclear weapons. Washington argues it can trigger the sanctions because a Security Council resolution still names it as a participant.
Iran has breached parts of the nuclear deal in response to the US withdrawal and Washington’s reimposition of sanctions.