Iran has welcomed the lifting on Sunday of the 13-year arms embargo, labelling it as a “momentous day”. In a letter last week to the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, LFI chair Steve McCabe expressed his disappointment that it has “not been possible to secure international consensus to extend the arms embargo” and asked “what action the United Kingdom government intends to take” following the move. He called the expiration of the embargo “hugely concerning for the State of Israel” and added that “it can only strengthen Iran’s other nefarious activities throughout the region, further destabilising Iraq and Lebanon, and adding to the bloodshed and tragic loss of life in Syria”.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal set a five-year deadline for ending the ban on the sale of conventional weapons to the Islamic republic. A European Union arms embargo will remain in place until 2023. The United States failed to extend the UN embargo in August but its motion was defeated at the UN Security Council in the face of opposition from China and Russia, both of which have military cooperation agreements with Iran. Britain abstained on the motion.
Whilst recognising “major flaws” in the 2015 agreement, McCabe wrote that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw unilaterally from it in 2018, has “done nothing to tackle the enormous threat which the Islamic Republic poses to peace and stability in the Middle East”.
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