The United States requested the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to reinstate the economic sanctions against Iran. Washington’s bid was defeated. Its only support came from the Dominican Republic. China and Russia rejected the motion and all 11 other members of the Security Council abstained. 

The economic sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued for the sanctions’ reinstation on Thursday. President Trump had sent Pompeo to New York in an effort to enforce the “snapback” provision written into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

“The United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran,” President Donald Trump said earlier this week. “It’s a snapback.” — a mechanism built into the Iran nuclear deal.

“The process to re-impose sanctions on Iran begins,” Secretary Pompeo tweeted. “Today I hand-delivered a letter to @UN Security Council President Dian Triansyah Djani to formally notify the Council of something we all know too well — Iran’s failure to meet its commitments under the terrible nuclear deal.” 

The members of the E3, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have rejected the attempt to initiate the “snapback.” The countries noted that the United States ceased to be a participant of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018.

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“We cannot, therefore, support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA,” the E3 released in a statement.

“We call on all UNSC members to refrain from any action that would only deepen divisions in the Security Council or that would have serious adverse consequences on its work,” they added.

Dmitry Polyansky, the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. blasted the U.S.’s move on Twitter.

“Looks like there are 2 planets. A fictional dog-eat-dog one where U.S. [sic] pretends it can do whatever it wants without ‘cajoling’ anyone, breach and leave deals but still benefit from them, and another one where the rest of the world lives and where intl law and diplomacy reign,” he wrote.

The snapback would restore all international sanctions against Iran. The sanctions had been lifted as part of the Iran nuclear deal. In exchange, Iran had agreed not to develop nuclear weapons.

Activation of the snapback would effectively sink the JCPOA, which Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China are trying to save. The deal is already on the brink of collapse, after the U.S.’s withdrawal and Iran’s blatant breach of limits on its uranium stockpile and concentration.

Under the agreement, any of the signatory states can unilaterally reimpose sanctions if Iran fails to significantly comply with the agreement. The snapback provision would lead to the re-establishment of sanctions after 30 days, without the possibility of any members using their vetoes. The U.S. specifically wrote that language into the agreement as a safety valve against Russia and China.

However, the other signatories now say that the U.S. has no standing to call for a snapback since it withdrew from the agreement. Pompeo, calling the decision by the European powers a “failure of leadership” stated that Washington can trigger a snapback because it was a participant when the deal was signed and insisted it would successfully lead to the automatic renewal of sanctions in 30 days and an extension of the arms embargo.

The European nations have all stated that they have serious concerns about the conventional arms embargo expiring on October 18 but believe the safest way to keep Iran’s nuclear efforts in check is through the JCPOA. 

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Pompeo’s comments to the media were blunt and to the point. 

“Our friends in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom — the E3 — all told me privately that they don’t want the arms embargo lifted either.

“And yet today, in the end, they provided no alternatives, no options. No country but the United States had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with ayatollahs [author’s emphasis]. Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, of Lebanon, of Syria — and indeed, their own citizens as well.

Two weeks ago, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates sent a letter to the Security Council urging a renewal of the arms embargo before it expires in October.

As Iran’s neighbors, they know better than anyone else the havoc that Iran could cause with these weapons. Look, the world – and especially our European friends on the Security Council – should have heeded their words.

America won’t join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead.

The leadership begins with recognizing the Islamic Republic of Iran for what it truly is: a theocratic, revolutionary, brutish regime that will not voluntarily seek peace or make life better for the Iranian people.”

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency has reported Iranian violations of the agreement. Yet Tehran has instead blamed the U.S., stating that it is violating the deal by withdrawing from it and then reimposing harsh unilateral sanctions. 

European members have urged Iran to comply anew, but Tehran has rebuffed their efforts. Europe is holding out hope that a Trump defeat at the polls in November would result in the deal being reinstated. Joe Biden has said publicly that under his administration, he would try to revive the U.S. involvement in the Iran deal. 

Pompeo’s appearance in New York came after the Security Council last week rejected a U.S. resolution to extend the arms embargo against Iran.

Meanwhile in Tehran, the Iranian military was showcasing its latest cruise missile which it claims has a range of 870 miles. The missile was named after MG Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a drone strike by the U.S. in Baghdad in January.