WASHINGTON – An overwhelming majority of members of the United States House of Representatives – 387 out of 435 – sent a letter on Monday to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urging him to renew the soon-to-be expired United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Iran. US House members also called to continue the UN travel restrictions “on those Iranian individuals involved with dangerous proliferation activities.” The ban is set to expire in October 2020.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick led a group of members of Congress calling for continuing the arms embargo. Among the members who signed the letter include House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Whip Steve Scalise, and Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations.

Notably, Rep. Ilhan Omar was also one of the members who signed the letter. “Congresswoman Omar has consistently, for a long time, supported arms embargoes against human rights abusers,” her office told Al-Monitor on Monday. “However, that is not to say that she supports Pompeo’s tactics or that her position on sanctions has changed, or that she is not in support of the [nuclear deal]. It was just a narrow ask that we couldn’t find anything wrong with.”

“UN Security Council Resolution 2231 bans arms transfers to and from Iran, yet Iran routinely violates this resolution with impunity, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen,” the members wrote in their letter. “Iran’s illicit transfers of weapons directly contribute to some of the most destabilizing threats to the United States and our partners in the Middle East such as Israel and the Gulf States,” they added.
“We are also concerned about the expiration of the UN-imposed travel restrictions on some of Iran’s most notorious individuals who have long violated UN proliferation and weapons restrictions,” the letter reads. “The UN travel restrictions allow states to refuse transit to covered individuals, which limits their ability to train, fundraise and plan around the globe. Restricting their movement is critical to our national security.”
“The UN arms embargo will be the first provision of the Iran nuclear deal to expire,” said Chairman Engel.
“This letter, supported overwhelmingly by both parties in the House, represents an imperative to reauthorize this provision – not through snapback or going it alone – but through a careful diplomatic campaign. The Trump Administration has promised a better deal, and it falls to the administration to solve this crisis, not make it worse. Iran continues to be a danger to the United States, our interests and our allies. We need a realistic and practical strategy to prevent Iran from becoming a greater menace,” Engel added.