US to Trigger Snapback Sanctions Against Iran

August 19, 2020 Updated: August 19, 2020

The United States will request a return or “snapback” of all U.N. sanctions on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, after the U.N. Security Council rejected Washington’s bid to extend an arms embargo on the regime.

The U.S. sanction request “will be a fully valid, enforceable U.N. Security Council resolution,” Pompeo said at a press conference on Wednesday in Washington. “We have every expectation that they’ll be enforced just like every other U.N. Security Council resolution that is in place.”

“We are confident that every country will see that it is in their best interest that U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 is fully enforced as it is a valid, extant, continuing set of obligations,” Pompeo said.

The United States will submit a complaint to the 15-member U.N. Security Council about Iran’s non-compliance with the nuclear deal. The Trump administration withdrew from the accord in 2018 citing non-compliance.

President Donald Trump said at a press briefing on Wednesday: “My administration will not allow this Iran nuclear situation to go on.”

The embargo on conventional arms sales was imposed on Iran by the U.N. Security Council with Resolution 2231, which also endorsed the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The “snapback” sanction mechanism is a provision of the U.N. resolution.

Asked about the impact of snapback sanction against Iran, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said at the joint press conference with Pompeo that Iraq has economic, cultural, and political ties with the neighboring country.

“We want to have good relations with our neighbors, provided that nobody interferes in Iraq’s affairs and the Iraqi decision will be made by the Iraqis, and we want to protect our alliances and relations with others, including the United States of America,” Hussein said.

Over the weekend, Trump told reporters that the United States probably would not participate in a video summit with the remaining parties to the nuclear deal—Britain, France, China, Germany, and Iran—proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the U.N. disapproved the U.S. request to extend the sanctions indefinitely.

A snapback of U.N. sanctions would extend the 13-year arms embargo on Iran, ban Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and require that Iran suspend its nuclear program.

The U.N. Security Council will have 30 days to vote on a resolution to continue Iran’s sanctions relief. If such a resolution is not adopted by the deadline, all U.N. sanctions in place before the 2015 nuclear deal would be automatically re-imposed.

Iran began violating the nuclear deal after the United States withdrew from it in 2018 and the Trump administration exerted “maximum economic pressure” on Iran by cutting off its oil exports and reducing its main revenue source to zero.

Last year, Iran announced that it had developed a new centrifuge that allows it to enrich uranium up to 50 times faster than allowed under the JCPOA. Iran also denied inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency “access to locations Iran is obligated to provide,” Pompeo said.

The Iran deal was promoted by then-President Barack Obama as “the best option”—the only way, even temporarily, to keep Iran from wielding nuclear arms.

Yet Iran has been reported to have gone in the opposite direction.

The regime announced a 150 percent increase in its military budget—developing long-range missiles, armed drones, and cyber-war capabilities—while putting to use some of the up to $150 billion in assets abroad that had previously been frozen due to sanctions.

The United States lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and has long criticized the Islamic regime for funding terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis.

Epoch Times reporter Petr Svab and Reuters contributed to this report.