President Hassan Rouhani expressed "great hopes" Wednesday that a US bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran will fail, warning of consequences if the UN Security Council backs it.
"We have great hopes that America will fail," Rouhani told a televised meeting of his cabinet on Wednesday.
"We have great hopes that America will realize its failure and see its isolation," the president said.
The ban on selling weapons to Iran is set to be progressively eased from October under the terms of Resolution 2231, which blessed the Iran nuclear deal that world powers agreed in July 2015. But a UN embargo on materials and technology that Iran could use for its ballistic missile program is to remain in place until 2023.
Under the accord officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is committed to limiting its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The JCPOA has been on life support since the US withdrew from it and reimposed unilateral sanctions in 2018. Iran has since taken small steps away from compliance with the agreement in retaliation for the US withdrawal as it presses for the sanctions relief it was promised.
"But our stance in any case is clear. If such a resolution comes to pass... it means a blatant violation of the JCPOA," Rouhani said, warning the "consequences will rest with the perpetrators of this act," Rouhani said.
“Until today, the US has failed politically, and it will fail again. The United States cannot attract and convince the world’s public opinion, and the world now feels that Iran is a law-abiding and moral country that is committed to its obligations,” he said.
'No legal position'
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US seeks to "use a Security Council mechanism to destroy" the top body.
The United States has put forward a resolution to extend the embargo but faces opposition from veto-wielding Russia and China.
The three European allies of the United States – Britain, Germany and France, which along with Russia and China, are parties to the JCPOA – have voiced support for extending the conventional arms embargo but their priority is to preserve the nuclear deal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned of a return of UN sanctions on Iran, using the so-called “snapback mechanism” under the JCPOA if the Security Council fails to extend the embargo.
He has said that Washington “has the unilateral ability to snap back sanctions into place” despite leaving the Iran nuclear deal.
But Zarif rejected Pompeo’s claim, saying the US “has no legal position to use the snapback”.
He said even the three European allies of the United States also explicitly stated at a previous meeting of the UN Security Council that Washington could not use this mechanism.
Zarif called US draft resolution “very illegal” and said it will not be approved.
“If the United States triggers the snapback, it will have no legal value, and any result from this snapback will be deemed worthless and will have no effect,” the top diplomat pointed out.
Iran's Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said on Wednesday that the US "was forced to retreat" from its draft resolution after being "rebuffed by UNSC members" and had to propose a fresh version.
"The new draft is similar – in its NATURE and GOAL – to the previous. Confident that the council will – again – reject this move," he tweeted.
The original US text effectively called for an indefinite extension of the embargo on Iran and used hawkish rhetoric.
Washington has threatened to use a contested argument that it remains a "participant" in the JCPOA – despite its withdrawal – and if UN sanctions are not extended, it can force their return if it sees Iran as being in violation of the accord's terms.
AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.