WASHINGTON In defiance of overwhelming opposition, the United States is preparing to declare that all international sanctions against Iran have been restored. Few countries believe this decision is legal, and such action could cause a credibility crisis at the United Nations.
Virtually alone in the world, the Trump administration will announce on Saturday that the relaxed UN sanctions on Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force. But other members of the UN Security Council, including American allies, disagree and have vowed to ignore this step. It paves the way for horrific clashes 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 react to being ignored. It has already imposed extensive sanctions on Iran, but could impose sanctions on countries that fail to enforce the UN sanctions it claims to have reimposed. A massive rejection of the American position could push the administration, which has already withdrawn from several United Nations agencies, organizations and treaties, further from the international community.
Amid a heated re-election campaign, President Donald Trump plans to address Iran in a speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday. Officials say he will also discuss his negotiation of deals for Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize relations in part to solidify a regional bulwark against Iran.
And, as he seeks to demonstrate pre-election statesman credentials, Trump injected another element of uncertainty into the mix by threatening to strike back 1,000 times harder against Iran if he attacks the 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 murder of a top Iranian general earlier this year. Neither Trump nor any other senior US official has confirmed the existence of such a plot, although they said Iran has a long history of political assassinations.
Amid the uncertainty over it, the other 14 members of the Security Council and almost five of the 195 UN member states say the United States lost its legal capacity to act on sanctions when Trump stepped down. was withdrawn from the nuclear deal more than two years ago. The United States maintains that it retains the right to enact the sanctions relief because the Council resolution that approved the deal designates it as a participant.
These will be worthy actions of the UN Security Council and the United States will do what it always does, it will do its part as part of its responsibilities to bring about peace, Secretary of State Mike said on Wednesday. Pompeo. Well, do whatever we need to do to make sure these sanctions are enforced.
Pompeo visited the United Nations on August 20 to officially inform the Security Council that the United States was triggering a backtracking because Iran does not respect the nuclear deal. He rejected suggestions that the administration was engaged in something legally questionable or even controversial.
He said the resumption mechanism was the only thing the previous administration got the better of the nuclear deal that Trump denounced as the worst deal ever negotiated. The deal was a foreign policy achievement of President Barack Obama and gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Yet apart from Israel and the Arab Gulf States, almost no country in the world agrees with the United States, Russia and China, as well as the American allies, Britain, France and the United States. Germany, who often disagree but remain parties to the 2015 accord, are united in declaring the US action illegal.
Nonetheless, US Special Envoy for Iran Elliott Abrams told reporters on Wednesday that all UN sanctions would return “at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
We expect all UN member states to fulfill their member states responsibilities and fulfill their obligations to comply with these sanctions, Abrams told reporters.
If other countries don’t follow him, he said, I think you should ask them … if they don’t think about weakening the UN sanctions structure.
UN diplomats said the three European countries that remained in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, all of which are currently members of the Security Council, will likely respond by issuing a statement reiterating their position that states- United cannot trigger a recovery.
Trump administration officials have been attacking the 2015 nuclear deal for years. They say it is fatally flawed because some restrictions on Iranian nuclear activity are gradually expiring and will allow the country to eventually develop atomic weapons.
The UN sanctions that the United States seeks 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 attempt to extend the embargo in an unbalanced vote that won the support of only one country, the Dominican Republic.
Pompeo reiterated on Wednesday that Iran remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, and we don’t believe that being able to trade weapons of war with impunity is at an acceptable distance. He called the US decision to reimpose sanctions good for the people of all nations.
But opposition to the US decision is widespread and strong, including from 13 of the 14 other members of the Security Council.
Under international law, you cannot terminate an agreement and then claim that you can still benefit from its provisions. According to a “rules-based international order where the rules are set by the United States, this seems to be acceptable as long as it serves American interests,” tweeted Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitri Polyansky.
The European Union’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, delivered the same message in August, saying that the United States cannot be considered a participating state in the JCPOA for the purposes of any take-back sanctions under the resolution.
Lederer reported from the United Nations.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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