Pompeo Heads to UN to Begin Process of Restoring Sanctions on Iran

Sanctions will extend a 13-year arms embargo on Iran, following failed U.S. bid at the UN Security Council to indefinitely extend an international arms embargo on the country

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks upon arrival at the National Congress to attend the inauguration ceremony of Dominican new President Luis Abinader, in Santo Domingo, on August 16, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks upon arrival at the National Congress to attend the inauguration ceremony of Dominican new President Luis Abinader, in Santo Domingo, on August 16, 2020Credit: AFP

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to New York on Thursday to inform the United Nations Security Council that the United States will initiate the process to restore UN sanctions on Iran, a U.S. State Department statement said.

According to the statement, a range of UN sanctions will be restored through the "snapback" mechanism, including the requirement that Iran suspend all nuclear enrichment-related activities. The sanctions will be reimposed thirty days after Secretary Pompeo’s notification.

The snapback sanctions will also extend the 13-year arms embargo on Iran after the United States lost its long-shot bid in the UN Security Council last week to indefinitely extend an international arms embargo on the Islamic republic.

“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 antisemitism,” Morgan Ortagus, the U.S. State Department spokesperson said in the statement.

Pompeo is also set to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss Iran among “other issues of shared concern.”

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a meeting of Foreign Ministers during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017.Credit: Arif Hudaverdi Yaman,AP

Israel condemned the council's rejection of the proposal, although senior officials say the government ultimately prefers a scenario in which the nuclear deal collapses entirely.

The United States argues that as an original participant in the nuclear deal with Iran, it retains the right to demand restoration of sanctions. The UN Security Council's other members, which still support the deal, maintain the United States lost that standing when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in 2018, but it isn’t clear if they can stop the invocation of snapback through technical procedural means.

UN officials expect Russia and China to be at the forefront of the challenge to the U.S. effort's legality, which would then kick the issue over to Guterres's office.

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton has long said that the U.S. lost its snapback standing when it withdrew from the deal and that moving ahead is not worth the damage it could do to U.S. veto power in the council.

In a stunningly rare moment of agreement, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif praised Bolton this week. “At least he is consistent — a trait notably absent in this U.S. administration,” Zarif tweeted.

Comments