- The Washington Times - Friday, August 14, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Friday that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and Iran gather for an emergency video conference with the hopes of avoiding “confrontation and escalation” as members weigh extending a weapons embargo on Tehran.

U.S. officials have urged allies to vote to extend the long-standing United Nations arms embargo, that was established under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The Trump administration has warned that ending the weapons ban would be disastrous for the Middle East and for U.S. national security because it would give Tehran sudden access to a buffet of Chinese- and Russian-made weapons previously acquirable only through nefarious channels.

China and Russia — both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and hold veto power — have objected to the extension. The U.S., France, and the United Kingdom are also permanent members.

Members of the 15-nation council are voting Friday on whether to extend the embargo.

“The issue is urgent,” Mr. Putin said in a statement obtained by Reuters. He said that extending the embargo will lead to “further escalation of tensions, increasing risk of conflict — such a scenario must be avoided.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that if the administration’s U.N. resolution to keep the embargo in place fails, then the White House will try to reinstitute global economic sanctions lifted as part of the Obama-era nuclear deal — even though President Trump technically withdrew the U.S. from the pact two years ago.

French President Emmanuel Macron is reportedly open to a virtual meeting of the global leaders.

The council is expected to announce the result of the crucial vote on the United States’ proposed resolution to extend the arms embargo later Friday.

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