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EghtesadOnline: China lambasted the United States for “peddling arms” and “interfering” in the domestic affairs of other countries in the wake of Washington’s threat that it will impose sanctions on any country that trades arms with Iran.

The UN Security Council’s embargo on trade in conventional weapons with Iran expired on Sunday in line with the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

However, US President Donald Trump, a hawkish critic of JCPOA, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism, particularly from other signatories to the deal.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Washington would impose sanctions on any individual or entity that helps Tehran’s weapons program, a highly provocative move that would further intensify tensions between the US and Iran.

“It is the US that peddles arms and ammunition everywhere, uses military trade to serve geopolitical interests, and even openly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Monday, according to the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

Asked whether China would sell weapons to Iran after the removal of the arms embargo, the Chinese spokesman said Beijing would “handle military trade in accordance with its military export policy and its international obligations”.

Separately on Monday, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet that Russia’s policy is not determined by the US.

“I suspect that we have got all imaginable US sanctions against our defense sector. Do you really think that we will care about US decisions?” asked the Russian diplomat.

“Our policy will be guided by other factors in their entirety, not by threats from you, guys,” Ulyanov said, responding to a tweet by Richard Goldberg, the assistant of former US national security advisor, John Bolton.

Goldberg had parroted Pompeo’s threats, saying that if a Russian or Chinese defense firm tried to sell weapons to Iran, that firm and all supporting institutions involved in a transaction would face secondary sanctions.

The termination of the arms embargo came in spite of months-long attempts by Washington to keep it in place.

In June, the US circulated a draft resolution among UNSC’s 15 members, urging the prevention of the embargo’s expiration. Only the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the draft that was voted against by China and Russia, and abstained by the rest of the members.

Washington’s campaign was in contravention of JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorses the nuclear deal, as the US had left the nuclear deal in 2018, thus losing all of its rights as a signatory.


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