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United States Eyes Extension of Iran Arms Embargo

The United States once again split from its European allies when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on 29 April that the country plans to extend its weapons ban on Tehran. The five-year ban on selling conventional weapons to Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is scheduled to end later this year; the United States withdrew from the deal in 2018.

According to RadioFreeEurope, Pompeo said that the United States will work with the UN Security Council to extend the embargo on weapons sales to Iran. The ban is slated to end on 23 October 2020.

When the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, it reintroduced former sanctions against Iran that impacted the country's economy. European allies of the United States noted that since the withdrawal, the United States has not participated in any subsequent meetings related to the agreement. Pompeo said he is urging France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the E3) to take action to help extend the ban. 

"And then in the event we can't get anyone else to act, the United States is evlauating every possibility about how we might do that," Pompeo said. He also insisted that the United States can continue to participate in discussions about the ban and the JCPAO, as well as levy sanctions on Iran. 

A European source told CNN that the E3 is unlikely to agree to the U.S. proposal since the end of the weapons ban is a formal and legal component of the treaty.