The United States has initiated the restoration of virtually all United Nations sanctions that had been previously lifted under Security Council Resolution 2231, when the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, was finalized in 2015. That same Security Council resolution gave each participant state the right to execute unconditionally the so-called ”snapback” of sanctions if Iran broke its commitments under the JCPOA.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed the Security Council of the decision by the United States on August 20. The sanctions will come back into effect 30 days later. The action was taken after the United States tried all diplomatic means to encourage the UN Security Council to renew the arms embargo on Iran that is scheduled to expire in October.
Speaking to reporters at the United Nations, Secretary Pompeo said the message is simple:
“The United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.”
The snapback will also prohibit Iran from testing ballistic missiles and from ongoing nuclear activities, such as the enrichment of nuclear material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.
“President Trump and this administration, have discarded the fiction that the regime merely seeks a peaceful nuclear program,” said Secretary Pompeo. “We will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
Secretary Pompeo noted that Iran’s close neighbors in the Middle East, including the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, have warned the Security Council about the danger from Iran and the need to stop the expiration of the arms embargo. He also voiced concern that Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, while privately saying they do not want the arms embargo lifted, are doing nothing to prevent it from happening:
“America won’t join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead…Today’s actions put additional pressure on Iran to behave like a normal country and to come to the bargaining table.”
“We call on the international community to join us in crafting a stronger deal that addresses the full range of Iran’s malign behavior,” said Secretary Pompeo, “and protects people of all nations that simply want to live free from Iranian predation.”