Another Iran showdown is coming at the United Nations at the end of this week after the United States finds itself isolated in claiming authority to impose ‘snapback’ sanctions on Iran:
Virtually alone in the world, the Trump administration will announce on Saturday that U.N. sanctions on Iran eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force. But the other members of the U.N. Security Council, including U.S. allies, disagree and have vowed to ignore the step. That sets the stage for ugly confrontations as the world body prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary at a coronavirus-restricted General Assembly session next week.
On Wednesday the Trump administration pledged it will move to impose “full” US sanctions on any international entity or arms company doing deals with Iran.
Per the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered under Obama, a 13-year old arms embargo on Iran is set to expire October 18 of this year.
The US failed in a recent bid weeks ago to get the UN Security Council to back its efforts to extend the embargo. On Aug. 20 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at UN headquarters that the US will activate snap back sanctions, which even US allies say it has no authority to do, given Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018.
“These will be valid U.N. Security Council (actions) and the United States will do what it always does, it will do its share as part of its responsibilities to enable peace,” Pompeo said Wednesday. “We’ll do all the things we need to do to ensure that those sanctions are enforced.”
The White House is ready to go it alone, promising that all prior UN sanctions will “snap back” at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday, according to remarks this week by newly appointed special envoy for Iran Elliott Abrams.
“We expect all U.N. member states to implement their member state responsibilities and respect their obligations to uphold these sanctions,” Abrams said at a Wednesday press briefing.
“If other nations do not follow it… I think they should be asked … whether they do not think they are weakening the structure of U.N. sanctions,” he added.