Left Menu
Development News Edition

Showdown set as US to declare UN sanctions on Iran are back

whether they do not think they are weakening the structure of UN sanctions.” UN diplomats said the three European countries remaining in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, who are all currently Security Council members, will likely respond by issuing a statement reiterating their position that the United States cannot trigger snapback.

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 17-09-2020 10:30 IST | Created: 17-09-2020 10:30 IST
Showdown set as US to declare UN sanctions on Iran are back

In defiance of overwhelming opposition, the United States is preparing to declare that all international sanctions against Iran have been restored. Few countries believe the move is legal, and such action could provoke a credibility crisis at the United Nations. Virtually alone in the world, the Trump administration will announce on Saturday that UN sanctions on Iran eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force. But the other members of the UN Security Council, including US 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.

The question is how the Trump administration will respond to being ignored. It already has slapped extensive sanctions on Iran, but could impose penalties on countries that don't enforce the UN sanctions it claims to have reimposed. A wholesale rejection of the US position could push the administration, which has already withdrawn from multiple UN agencies, organisations and treaties, further away from the international community. In the midst of a heated campaign for reelection, President Donald Trump plans to address Iran in a speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday. Officials say he will also touch on his brokering of agreements for Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalise relations in part to solidify a regional bulwark against Iran.

And, as he seeks to demonstrate statesmanlike credentials ahead of the election, Trump has injected another element of uncertainty into the mix by threatening to retaliate “1,000 times” harder against Iran if it attacks US personnel overseas. His tweeted warning came earlier this week in response to a report that Iran is plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa in retaliation for the US killing of a top Iranian general at the beginning of the year. Neither Trump nor any other senior US official has confirmed such a plot exists, although they have said Iran has a long history of political assassinations.

Amid uncertainty over that, the other 14 members of the Security Council and all but about five of the UN's 195 member states say the US lost its legal standing to act on sanctions when Trump withdrew from the nuclear accord more than two years ago. The US argues it retains the right to enact the “snapback” of sanctions because the council resolution that endorsed the deal refers to it as a participant. “These will be valid UN 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,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. “We'll do all the things we need to do to ensure that those sanctions are enforced.” Pompeo travelled to the United Nations on August 20 to formally notify the Security Council that the US was triggering snapback because Iran is not complying with the nuclear deal. He dismissed suggestions that the administration was engaged in anything legally questionable or even controversial.

He said the snapback mechanism was the “one thing that the previous administration got right” in the nuclear deal that Trump has denounced as the worst deal ever negotiated. The agreement was a signature foreign policy achievement of President Barack Obama and gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on it nuclear programme. Yet, aside from Israel and the Gulf Arab states, almost no country in the world agrees with the US Russia and China, along with American allies Britain, France and Germany, who often disagree but remain parties to the 2015 agreement, are united in declaring the US action “illegal”.

Nonetheless, the US special envoy for Iran, Elliott Abrams, told reporters Wednesday that all UN sanctions would “snap back" at 8 pm EDT on Saturday. "We expect all UN member states to implement their member state responsibilities and respect their obligations to uphold these sanctions,” Abrams told reporters.

“If other nations do not follow it,” he said, “I think they should be asked... whether they do not think they are weakening the structure of UN sanctions.” UN diplomats said the three European countries remaining in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, who are all currently Security Council members, will likely respond by issuing a statement reiterating their position that the United States cannot trigger snapback. Trump administration officials been attacking the 2015 nuclear deal for years. They say it is fatally flawed because certain restrictions on Iran's nuclear activity gradually expire and will allow the country to eventually develop atomic weapons.

The UN sanctions the US is seeking to reimpose include a ban on uranium enrichment, all missile activity, and the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire on October 18. The Security Council rejected a US effort to extend the embargo in a lopsided vote that got support from only one country, the Dominican Republic. Pompeo reiterated on Wednesday that Iran “remains the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism and we don't believe that them being able to trade in weapons of war with impunity is remotely acceptable". He called the US decision to reimpose sanctions “good for the peoples of all nations.” But opposition to the US move is widespread and strong, including from 13 of the other 14 Security Council members.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Tesco boss tells UK shoppers not to panic buy after new COVID curbs

There is no need for shoppers to panic buy grocery supplies after Britain imposed new restrictions to stem a second wave of COVID-19, the boss of Tesco, the countrys biggest supermarket chain, said on Wednesday.Prime Minister Boris Johnson ...

GLOBAL MARKETS-Tech lifts world stocks as economy back in focus

World shares stabilized and the dollar rose on Wednesday with overnight gains of stay-at-home Wall Street tech champions helped balance concerns that new restrictions to counter resurging coronavirus infections will hurt the economic recove...

ideaForge launches new micro drone for high accuracy surveying

ideaForge has launched a new micro drone that specialises in mapping and surveying areas with high accuracy, said a press release on Wednesday. Under Indias Swamitva Yojana, over 6.6 lakh villages will be mapped using the indigenously devel...

FACTBOX-How Russia has prepared itself to blunt threat of more sanctions

The poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and Moscows involvement in political turmoil in neighbouring Belarus have put additional Western sanctions against Russia back on the agenda ahead of the U.S. presidential election.But even if ...

Give Feedback