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Despite humiliating defeat at UN Trump seeks controversial means to impose sanctions on Iran 

August 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm

US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House on August 12, 2020 [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

Despite suffering a humiliating defeat at the United Nations Security Council, Donald Trump remains undeterred from reimposing sanctions on Iran.

The embattled president announced yesterday that he intends to restore virtually all sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“I am directing the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to notify the UN Security Council that the United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended UN sanctions on Iran. It’s a snapback,” Trump is reported to have said at a news conference yesterday.

“Snapback” is a procedure under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that allows for the extension of sanctions if Tehran fails to comply with the agreement.

READ: New US-Iran deal as soon as I’m re-elected, says Trump

The Trump administration has argued that it has the authority to trigger the reimposition of sanctions even though the US unilaterally withdrew from the pact which includes a group of countries known as 5+1 (US, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany).

Other signatories to the deal maintain that the US has forfeited the right to make any further demands under the treaty having unilaterally withdrawn from the pact in May 2018.

The US-Iran conflict [Cartoon/Arabi21]

The US-Iran conflict [Cartoon/Arabi21]

US efforts to indefinitely extend an arms embargo collapsed last week when it suffered a humiliating defeat at the UN Security Council. A resolution sponsored by Washington only secured one other vote from the 15-member UN Security Council.

France, Germany and the UK have said that any unilateral attempt to reimpose sanctions would have “serious adverse consequences”.

The Financial Times cited a European diplomat saying yesterday that the Security Council was likely to ignore the US snapback effort, scenario analysts have warned would lead to dysfunction among the five permanent members with veto power – France, China, Russia, the UK and the US.

The US continues to maintain that despite its unilateral withdrawal it nonetheless has “an explicit right” to initiate the snapback sanctions and that any argument to the contrary would “create a perilous precedent that could threaten the force of virtually any Security Council decision.