UN Security Council Declines Action on US-Sought Return of Iran Sanctions
By Margaret Besheer August 25, 2020
The president of the U.N. Security Council said Tuesday there is no consensus for restoring international sanctions on Iran in the 15-member council and that he would take no further action on a U.S. demand to re-impose them.
"It is clear for me that there is one member, which has a particular position on the issue, while there are significant numbers of members who have contrasting views," said Council President Indonesian Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani. "In my view, there is no consensus in the council. Thus, the president is not in the position to take further action."
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to New York and personally notified the United Nations that the United States was triggering a mechanism under the U.N. Security Council resolution that enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal into international law and would "snapback" sanctions on Iran dating back to 2006.
But other deal participants immediately cried foul, saying the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and therefore gave up its right to initiate the process. Washington rejected their interpretation and said the U.S. can trigger snapback as a named participant in the council resolution.
On August 14, the U.S. sought to have the council adopt a resolution to renew an arms embargo on Iran that, under the terms of the JCPOA, will expire on October 18. The move failed, with only one other council member (the Dominican Republic) voting with Washington. The Trump administration then triggered snapback in order to re-impose the embargo, as well a series of other sanctions.
"The Trump Administration has no fear in standing in limited company on this matter, in light of the unmistakable truth guiding our actions," said U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft on Tuesday. "I only regret that other members of this council have lost their way and now find themselves standing in the company of terrorists."
In the nuclear deal, the original participants – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany – agreed with Iran to gradually lift the sanctions in return for limits on Tehran's nuclear activities that would prevent it making a nuclear bomb.
If snapback is imposed, diplomats say it would almost certainly collapse the deal, which has been struggling since the U.S. left and Iran responded by resuming some of its prohibited nuclear activities.
"We are firmly convinced that protecting the JCPOA is of crucial importance," said Germany's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Günter Sautter. "The nuclear deal with Iran is not perfect, but it continues to be the international community's best tool to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East."
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he hoped the council president's decision would be the end of the matter and that the U.S. would "refrain from further steps to pursue this path."
The remaining JCPOA participants have urged Iran to quickly return to compliance with the deal.
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