"Because of the flawed nuclear deal negotiated by the previous American administration, the arms embargo on the world''s most heinous terrorist regime is scheduled to expire on October 18, a mere four months from now," he told a virtual UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday.
Pompeo said the UN Security Council has a choice -- either stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations'' founders intended, or let the arms embargo on Iran expire, "betraying" the UN''s mission and its finest ideals, which nations have all pledged to uphold.
"If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000-kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs," he said.
The top US diplomat said if the arms embargo is not extended, Iran will be free to upgrade and expand its fleet of submarines to further threaten international shipping and freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.
"Iran will hold a sword of Damocles over the economic stability of the Middle East, endangering nations like Russia and China that rely on stable energy prices. Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan," he said.
Noting that in November of last year President Hassan Rouhani had said that when the embargo is "lifted next year, we can easily buy and sell weapons", Pompeo said the Council should take Rouhani at his word, since "Iran is not a responsible democracy like Australia or India. We already know that Tehran will do, if given the ability to buy more weaponry."
He said renewing the embargo will exert more pressure on Tehran to start "behaving like a normal nation".
He said the UNSC cannot simply hope that Iran acts in good faith, given its indisputable fact pattern. "The council must hold Iran accountable and we all have the chance to do so."
Iran''s Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif responded that if the Council "falters", it will be a "generational setback" for multilateralism and the rule of law.
"The international community in general and the UN Security Council in particular are facing an important decision: Do we maintain respect for the rule of law or do we return to the law of the jungle by surrendering to the whims of an outlaw bully?" he posed.
"While the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown, in words and deeds, our desire and preference for constructive engagement, we do not depend on others for our security, stability or prosperity. We have learned to solely depend on ourselves.
"That is why more than 40 years of US pressure -- whether through demonisation or war, sanctions or terror including the cowardly assassination of our region''s counter-terrorism hero General Qassem Soleimani -- has failed to bring Iranians to their knees or affect our people''s decision-making calculus," Zarif said.
US President Donald Trump had in May 2018 pulled the US out of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran, an Obama-era accord which he has repeatedly criticised as "disastrous", and had re-imposed sanctions. He has frequently criticised the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
The Iran nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the P5 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) plus Germany and the European Union. It sets out rules for monitoring Iran''s nuclear programme and paves the way for the lifting of UN sanctions.
Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, told the Security Council that the 2015 agreement -- which the council endorsed through resolution 2231 -- is a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy and dialogue.
"It remains crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and to regional and international security. It is therefore regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt," she said.
DiCarlo noted that before the US withdrew from the agreement in May 2018, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified in 11 reports that Iran was complying with its nuclear commitments contained in the Plan.
"As we have said, we regret the US withdrawal from the Plan. The re-imposition of US national sanctions lifted under the Plan, as well as the decision not to extend waivers for the trade in oil with Iran and on all remaining JCPOA-originating projects, are contrary to the goals of the JCPOA.
"These actions have impeded the ability of Iran and other Member States to fully implement the Plan and the resolution," she said.
DiCarlo addressed the video-conference meeting of the council as its 15 members took up the secretary-general''s ninth report on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) ahead of the scheduled expiration of a UN arms embargo on Iran on October 18.