Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the United States expects every country to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran.
“We expect every nation to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions,” U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi in Paramaribo, Suriname on Thursday.
Requested by the United States in August, the snapback of all U.N. sanctions on Iran aimed at preventing Teheran from purchasing weapons will take effect on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 p.m., Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“The United States is intent on enforcing all the U.N. Security Council resolutions. And come Monday, there will be a new series of U.N. Security Council resolutions that we enforce, and we intend to ask every country to stand behind them,” Pompeo said.
The 2015 nuclear deal offered Iran the lifting of a conventional arms embargo in five years in exchange for limiting its nuclear activities to civilian ones. Thus the arms embargo is set to expire on Oct. 18.
The snapback will re-impose the arms embargo indefinitely and will reinstate other restrictions “including the ban on Iran engaging in enrichment and reprocessing-related activities, the prohibition on ballistic missile testing and development, and sanctions on the transfer of nuclear and missile-related technologies to Iran,” Abrams said.
After the United States initiated the snapback, the three European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal—France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the E3)—said in a statement that because the United States withdrew from Iran nuclear deal, they cannot support the U.S. action, which was also “incompatible” with their current efforts.
In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew the United States unilaterally from the Iran nuclear deal saying that the deal had failed to prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons and allowed the Iranian regime to support terrorist activities internationally.
The United States “has made every diplomatic effort” for almost two years to try to renew the arms embargo, Pompeo told the press in August.
Before requesting the sanction snapback, the U.S. initiated a resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran indefinitely. The U.N. Security Council failed to pass it as China and Russia voted against it while 11 of 15 members of the Security Council abstained, including France, Germany, and Britain. Only the United States and the Dominican Republic voted for the resolution.
“The United States, first of all, is not isolated with respect to the arms embargo,” Abrams said, there are many countries in the world sharing the U.S. view, including in Europe.
“There was a letter from the Gulf Cooperation Council—all the members—to the U.N. Security Council, saying please do not let the U.N. arms embargo end,” Abrams said.
“The European countries told us—the E3 and others as well—that they don’t want the arms embargo to end, but they were unable to take any action that kept the U.N. arms embargo in place,” Abrams said.
The EU has a separate arms embargo on Iran and they can maintain it indefinitely in order to prevent Iran from buying weapons, he added. European countries can also enforce the U.N. sanctions or cooperate with the United States if they see that Russia, China, or anybody else tries to sell arms to Iran, Abrams said.
If the EU ensures that no EU country engages in an arms sale to Iran and helps to enforce the U.N. sanctions “obviously it would have an impact on companies that were contemplating a sale,” Abrams explained.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at a joint press conference with Pompeo on Wednesday that Iran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
The UK shares the concerns of the United States regarding “the Iranian threat both on the nuclear side of things but also the wider destabilizing activities in the region,” Raab said. He also agreed that the Iran nuclear deal is not perfect and should be broadened.
The UK and the United States share the view “that the diplomatic door is open to Iran to negotiate a peaceful way forward. That decision, that choice is there for the leadership in Tehran to take,” Rabb said.
Pompeo said at the joint press conference that the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States unilaterally after its withdrawal from the nuclear deal have been successful. Iranian resources to finance Hezbollah and the Shia militias operating in the Middle East have been greatly reduced along with “their capacity to inflict harm around the world,” he added.