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What’s next after the US’ failure at the Security Council?

August 19, 2020 at 3:30 pm

UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters in New York, United States on 11 February, 2020 [Tayfun Coşkun/Anadolu Agency]

The US failed to obtain support from the UN Security Council in its efforts to renew the arms embargo imposed on Iran, but this failure did not stop it from announcing its insistence on reimposing the international sanctions on Iran that were lifted in 2015. This will start a new chapter in the international legal dispute over Washington’s use of the nuclear deal’s “dispute settlement mechanism”.

America failed to impose its power on the Security Council member states in order to obtain a resolution to renew the arms embargo imposed on Iran, with a result that exceeded Iran’s calculations. After the vote, the Russian-Chinese veto, which Iran was betting on, was not needed as 11 of the 15 Security Council member states refrained from voting in favour of the American draft resolution stipulating the renewal of the embargo, which is set to be lifted from Tehran next October.

It is worth mentioning that the European trio (France, Britain, Germany) had previously supported Washington’s efforts to renew the arms embargo on Iran and expressed on more than one occasion its concerns regarding all the consequences of lifting the embargo. Former Iranian ambassador to Germany, Ali Majedi, wrote in an article in Iran newspaper, that this European refusal to join the efforts of the US in the Security Council is based on Iran’s clever policy and diplomacy in the face of American sabotage, which is represented in preserving the nuclear agreement.

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This was supported by Iranian writer, Hassan Hani Zadeh, who wrote in Arman e-Meli newspaper that the UN Security Council was prompted to unanimously vote against the American draft resolution is Iran’s policy during the past five years, since the nuclear agreement. It proved to the international community that Tehran is not seeking to obtain nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

In an article for Arman e-Meli newspaper, Morteza Maki mentioned the missile power, regional influence, and position on Israel as Iranian issues that Europe has opinions matching that of the US. However, at the same time, he noted that the European countries have a completely different view on how to deal with Iran, as it believes in the need to manage these issues with Tehran through negotiations and supervising the nuclear programme. According to the article by Mohammad Sadr in Iran newspaper, Europe believes that the nuclear agreement is its initiative and its collapse will lead to undermining security in the area. This worries Europe and therefore it chose not to act decisively on the issue pending the result of the American presidential elections. Sadr expects the Europeans to immediately fulfil their obligations in this agreement if Trump loses the presidential race.

Despite Iran’s official position that considers the failure of the American attempt in the Security Council as a diplomatic victory for Tehran, and increased isolation for the US, Arman Meli expressed its concerns about the possibility of the US seeking to exploit the rejection of the resolution to extend the arms embargo as a legal excuse to impose additional sanctions on Iran, perhaps even security sanctions.

The newspaper added that Washington could put the ball in the international community’s court, holding it responsible for Iran’s possession of weapons in the future, after announcing the end of all diplomatic paths with Iran. Washington did not delay in disclosing its new course after its failure in the Security Council, as US representative to the UN, Kelly Craft, said after the results of the vote were released that “The United States has every right to initiate snapback,” and “in the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo.”

Accordingly, Vatan-e Emrooz newspaper called on Rouhani’s government to work to reduce these American threats by publicly hinting at Iran’s responses if America is able to activate the conflict resolution mechanism. The question now is how the conflict between America and Iran will unfold and its repercussions on the countries of the region.

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This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustor on 19 August 2020

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.