NEW YORK - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to "hold Iran accountable" and extend an arms embargo due to expire in October.
"Renewing the embargo will exert more pressure on Tehran to start to behave like a normal nation," Pompeo told a virtual meeting of the council that is held twice a year to review implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "The world needs this to happen. The long-suffering Iranian people need it to happen."
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was due to address the council later in the meeting.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed all U.S. sanctions that had been lifted or waived under the deal. In response, 14 months later, Iran began taking a series of steps to cease carrying out its nuclear commitments under the plan.
Most recently, in January, Tehran said it had taken its final step back from the deal and would no longer abide by limits on the numbers of its uranium-enriched centrifuges.
The Trump administration has threatened to trigger a "snapback" of all international sanctions if its effort to extend the arms embargo fails in the council.
Pompeo detailed what he said was "overwhelming evidence" that Iran is a threat to international peace, including reminding council members of Iranian-made weapons used in an attack on Saudi Arabia in September, missile attacks on coalition troops in Iraq in January, and its supplying of rockets and other hardware to Shi'ite groups in the Middle East.
"Iran is already violating the arms embargo before its expiration date," he said. "Imagine Iranian activity if restrictions are lifted."
A June report by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also supports conclusions that some components of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and cruise missiles used in the attack on Saudi Arabia were of Iranian origin.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed by the five permanent members of the Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.) plus Germany with Iran in July 2015, and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 2231.