Conventional arms trade treaty blocked by Iran, Syria and North Korea

Iran, Syria and North Korea have opposed the Arms Trade Treaty draft, which would regulate the sale of conventional weapons.

The three countries blocked the consensus required for passage of the draft following years of negotiations in what experts are calling an attempt to strike back following what they see as unfair treatment, the New York Times reports.

Australian ambassador Peter Woolcott, the president of the treaty conference, suspended the meeting after Iran and North Korea voted against the draft treaty. When the conference resumed, Syria also voted against the treaty.

Without a consensus, the draft will be sent for approval to the General Assembly as soon as next week. If passed by the General Assembly, the treaty would need to be ratified by 50 member states before taking effect.

"We are certainly disappointed, because we could not achieve the expected result tonight," Juan M. Gómez-Robledo, the vice minister of multilateral affairs and the head of the Mexican delegation, said, according to the New York Times, "but it is only a matter of days, because this conference has shown that the overwhelming majority wish to adopt this text."

Securing a consensus among the United Nation's 193 member states is considered a herculean task, but many believed that it would be possible for the conventional weapons regulation because of the number of countries supporting the idea of regulating the $70 billion industry.

The proposed treaty would require states that export conventional weapons to develop criteria linking exports to avoiding human rights abuses, terrorism and organized crime. The treaty would also ban shipments deemed harmful to women and children, the New York Times reports.