President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday urged UN Security Council members, especially veto-wielding China and Russia, to oppose a US "conspiracy" to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
"We will reach a point... when, based on Resolution 2231, all arms embargoes on Iran will be lifted," said Rouhani.
"The Americans are already angry and upset... and are preparing a resolution and want to bring it to the Security Council," he told a televised cabinet meeting.
The ban on selling weapons to Iran is set to be progressively eased from October in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
The weapons include battle tanks, combat aircraft, warships and missiles or missile systems, according to the resolution.
But a UN embargo on materials, goods, equipment, and technology that Iran could use for its ballistic missile program will remain in place until October 2023.
Resolution 2231 blessed the landmark international agreement reached in 2015 that placed limits on Iran's nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord – known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in 2018 and began reimposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The UN Security Council includes among its 15 members five veto-wielding permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States.
Rouhani appealed to those other than the United States to oppose Washington’s bid to extend the arms embargo.
"We expect the four permanent members to stand against this conspiracy, for global interests, global stability," he said.
"We especially expect (this from) our two friendly countries, Russia and China."
Washington said last week it had shared a draft resolution with Russia to extend the ban, with Moscow and Beijing having already voiced their opposition to the measure.
Russia-China making case
Russia and China have started making the case at the United Nations against Washington’s claim that it can trigger a return of all sanctions on Iran at the Security Council, with Moscow invoking a 50-year-old international legal opinion to argue against the move.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the council and UN chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal.
Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week that the United States was being “ridiculous and irresponsible.”
“This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one’s cake and eating it,” Lavrov wrote.
He cited a 1971 International Court of Justice opinion, which found that a fundamental principle governing international relationships was that “a party which disowns or does not fulfill its own obligations cannot be recognized as retaining the rights which it claims to derive from the relationship.”
“The United States, no longer a participant to the JCPOA after walking away from it, has no right to demand the Security Council invoke a snapback,” Wang wrote in his June 7 letter.
Even though Trump has left the nuclear accord, his administration has argued that the US remains a participant under Resolution 2231 and can trigger UN sanctions for Iran's noncompliance with the 2015 deal.
Yet according to the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell, the US "cannot claim they are still part of the JCPOA to deal with this issue" after leaving it.
Iran, which has gradually scaled back its commitments to the accord in response to the renewed US sanctions, has dismissed the US argument as without any legal standing and warned that extending the embargo would mean the death of the nuclear accord.
AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.