US President Donald Trump is calling on the United Nations to reinstate its sanctions of Iran over their total failure to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal conducted by the Obama administration, which only succeeded in emboldening the rogue state.
“Mark it down, Iran will never have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said on Wednesday. “We paid a fortune for a failed concept, a failed policy that would have made it impossible to have peace in the Middle East.”
On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading to New York City to formally present the demand for the UN to reimpose its sanctions on Iran, which could set the stage for possible larger dispute.
The demand comes in the wake of a failed effort last week by the United States to extend an expiring, 13-year-old arms embargo on Iran, which was roundly defeated when 11 members of the UN Security Council abstained from voting, with only the Dominican Republic supporting the US. Both Russia and China vetoed the US measure.
The move may come into collision with other world powers, including key allies, who say that the US does not have the ability or right to project international sanctions on another country and they don’t have to go along with it if they don’t want to.
The United States has stood alone in the United Nations in its recent efforts to put pressure on the Iranian regime and has faced resistance from both France and the United Kingdom.
In the outcome that the United States’ demand is ignored, it would bring into question the UN Security Council’s ability to enforce its own legally binding decisions and thus expose the organization for its powerlessness.
“Secretary Pompeo’s notification to the Council follows its inexcusable failure last week to extend the arms embargo on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism,” reads the statement, which adds that the “snapback” would extend the arms embargo by default.
The so-called “snapback” is a reference to a special process outlined in the 2015 deal that allows the US to submit a complaint to the UN Security Council, which is then given 30 days to vote on a resolution to continue Iran’s sanctions relief, which the US could then veto.
If the resolution isn’t adopted, UN sanctions that were eased in return for constraints on Iran’s nuclear program would be restored. This would theoretically end the Iran nuclear deal.
It sounds simple on paper, but states—including allies—opposed to the US move against Iran argue that the “snapback” process is one the US has no right to invoke because it is no longer part of the original accord.
Europe won’t “support unilateral proposals leading to the return of sanctions,” French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said in June, according to Bloomberg. “They would only deepen divisions in the Security Council and beyond and would not be likely to improve the situation on the ground of nuclear nonproliferation.”
The United States disagrees with this assessment, arguing that UN Resolution 2231 lists the US as a participant of the nuclear agreement and “includes no provision for altering that definition based on the future behavior or activities of the defined parties,” says Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which guided the Trump administration in its plan to sanction Iran.
Sec. Pompeo says the United States intends to hold any countries accountable should they choose to violate the sanctions on Iran by selling advanced weaponry to Iran once the arms embargo officially expires in October.
Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said that the US would “absolutely” sanction these countries. “We’ve already done that when we see any country violate our current sanctions, the current American sanctions, we’ve held every nation accountable for that. We’ll do the same thing with respect to the broader UN Security Council sanctions as well.”