On Thursday night, the United States formally notified the Security Council of its request to reactivate international sanctions against Iran and retroactively (Snap Back), in a letter that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered to the President of the Security Council for this month, and Pompeo also delivered a copy to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio. Guterres.
Pompeo said in a tweet: “The process of re-imposing sanctions on Iran begins. Today I delivered a letter by hand to the President of the United Nations Security Council, Diane Triansyah Dajani, to formally notify the Council of something we know well, Iran’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the terrible nuclear deal.”
In statements made by the Security Council, Pompeo said that sanctions will be imposed on Iran after 31 days, starting Thursday. He said that the administration of US President Donald Trump has shown that Iran’s nuclear program is not peaceful. He added that it is dangerous not to extend the arms embargo on Iran.
He considered that the right to re-impose sanctions on Iran (Snap Back) is possible from all countries or bilaterally. He said that if an agreement is reached with Iran as a normal country, “we will respect that and withdraw the sanctions.” He stressed that Iran is not allowed to acquire weapons and to acquire and develop ballistic missiles.
The European response to the American message was not late, as Britain, France and Germany said that they could not support the American move to re-impose sanctions on Iran, considering that the step is inconsistent with efforts to support the nuclear deal with Iran. And she reminded that the United States is no longer participating in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear agreement) after its withdrawal, and therefore, our position on the American notification has been expressed very clearly.
The three countries said in a joint statement: “In order to preserve the agreement, we urge Iran to abstain from all measures that are inconsistent with its obligations under the nuclear agreement, and to return to full compliance without delay.”
For his part, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Rawanji, said that his country is still committed to the agreement, and that the United States has withdrawn from it, and that is why it cannot enforce sanctions. He added, “The United States is talking about parts of the agreement, leaving other parts, and this cannot be done.”
He expected that all countries, including European countries, would respect the rules of the game, adding that “the rules of the game in this case are Resolution 2231, and we expect all European countries to implement their obligations.” He added, “Those countries must resist American bullying. We have noted the bullying and the steps taken by the United States that are inconsistent with international agreements.”
Diplomats expect that the process of re-imposing sanctions will be chaotic in light of the opposition of the remaining parties to the agreement to such a step, as this may ultimately lead to the destruction of the nuclear agreement because Iran will lose a major incentive to limit its nuclear activities.
The return of UN sanctions would oblige Iran to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment and reprocessing, including research and development, and ban the import of anything that could contribute to those activities or the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems.
It will also include re-imposing an arms embargo on Iran, preventing it from developing ballistic missiles capable of launching nuclear weapons, and resuming specific sanctions against dozens of individuals and entities. Countries will also be urged to examine shipments to and from Iran and allow them to confiscate any prohibited shipment.
After Washington submits the formal request, the Security Council will have to vote within 30 days on a resolution to continue to ease the sanctions imposed on Iran. Unless such a resolution is adopted by the deadline, all UN sanctions that were in effect prior to the 2015 nuclear deal will be re-imposed automatically.
Reuters quoted three senior Iranian officials as saying that the Iranian leadership is determined to continue its commitment to the nuclear agreement in the hope that the victory of Joe Biden, Trump’s political rival in the presidential elections, will save the agreement.