Pompeo accuses Europe of inaction over Iran arms

AFP , Sunday 20 Sep 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) speaks during a joint press conference with Slovenian Prime Minister (unseen) after their meeting in Bled, in the foothills of the Julian Alps. - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 20, 2020. AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said European leaders "haven't lifted a finger" to halt arms sales to Iran after they rejected a unilateral US declaration that UN sanctions on Tehran were back in force.

The administration of President Donald Trump said the sanctions had been re-activated under the "snapback" mechanism in a landmark 2015 nuclear treaty -- despite Washington having withdrawn from the deal.

On Sunday, France, Germany and Britain issued a joint statement saying Washington's "purported notification" was "incapable of having any legal effect."

Pompeo told Fox News that "arms sales, tanks, air defense systems, all of those, in a couple of weeks, would have been permitted to have been sold. And the Europeans have not joined us in this.

"They tell us privately we don't want the arms sales to come back... but they haven't lifted a finger."

Pompeo added that "weapons that Iran will sell will end up in the hands of Hezbollah and make life tragically worse for the people of Lebanon," which was rocked last month by a massive port explosion in Beirut.

The sanctions on Iran were lifted when it joined the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US) and Germany in signing the 2015 treaty to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

Pompeo on Sunday also called for fundamental changes to Iran's government in remarks at a conservative megachurch in suburban Dallas, Texas.

"We pray for the Iranian people that they will get a government that they deserve," he said.

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