“The lifting of the embargo on arms to Iran would be a major strategic mistake”

Tribune. The international system has entered a chaotic phase. The multilateral structures that formed the backbone of our influence strategy are under strain. The pandemic has accelerated this process. Belligerent leaders seek to take advantage of this growing confusion to extend their influence by pursuing an expansionist and destabilizing policy.

Faced with these immense challenges, the worst attitude would be to discard by keeping the multilateral bodies away from the most sensitive issues, even as unresolved disputes further weaken the latter. This is particularly the case with the question of the embargo on arms to or from Iran imposed by the European Union and the United Nations in application of Security Council resolution 2231. This embargo expires on October 18. Its non-renewal would be a major strategic error, the repercussions of which would be felt far beyond the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

Parliamentarians and political leaders from both the majority and the opposition, we are of course attached to the strategic autonomy of our country and would like to stress from the outset that our approach does not in any way consist of aligning ourselves with the position defended by the current US administration. Some of us have fundamental disagreements with the latter. However, we cannot ignore the serious diplomatic, security and economic repercussions that the lifting of the embargo on arms against Iran would inevitably cause.

Destabilizing factor

This disastrous decision will first of all contribute to increasing antagonisms in the Middle East and will constitute a new factor of destabilization in a region which is going through serious crises. In this context, the Iranian-Saudi rivalry has taken a particularly worrying turn in recent months.

These two regional powers clash in an indirect, but increasingly violent conflict in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, as well as Lebanon. The risk of open war is real as the factors fueling this confrontation are numerous: the struggle for regional leadership, competing religious ideologies and economic rivalry linked to the commodity market.

The lifting of the arms embargo will have a second major consequence which will be particularly harmful for regional security and stability. By allowing the Iranian regime to freely buy arms, but also to sell them and therefore export them, this decision will inevitably trigger an arms race in the Middle East. The nebula of Shiite Islamist militias that Tehran arms, finances and trains will be the main beneficiary. This war by militia interposed exacerbates the ideological and ethno-confessional divides which are the breeding ground for conflicts in the Middle East.

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