The Trump administration has dismissed opposition to its demand to restore all UN sanctions on Iran, declaring that a 30-day countdown for the “snapback” of penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had begun.
US allies and foes joined forces to declare the action illegal and doomed to failure, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook strongly disagreed and questioned the motives of those who object.
Opponents say the US lost the standing to trigger the snapback when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. Pompeo and Hook maintain that the United States retains that right and doesn’t need permission to use it.
“We don’t need anyone’s permission,” Hook told reporters in a briefing on Friday. “Iran is in violation of its voluntary nuclear commitments. The condition has been met to initiate snapback. And so we have now started to initiate snapback.”
The five countries now in dispute with the US administration – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – remain supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Obama administration backed, to rein in Iran’s nuclear program and prevent its development of nuclear weapons.
The European Union announced on Friday that the five nations and Iran will meet in Vienna on September 1.
The Europeans fear the reimposition of sanctions may lead Iran to quit the nuclear deal entIrely and plough ahead with efforts to develop atomic weapons. They are hoping to preserve the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in the event President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term. Democratic candidate Joe Biden has said he would try to revive the agreement.
Following the meeting with Pompeo, Indonesia’s UN Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, the current Security council president, began one-on-one consultations with its 14 other members on the legality of the US action, council diplomats said.
All members, except the Dominican Republic, informed the council president that since the United States is not a party to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the Trump administration’s action is illegal.
On Friday, Pompeo said it was “incomprehensible” that the Europeans didn’t support the arms embargo’s indefinite extension.
“To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the UN, I think, is really dangerous for the world,” he told Fox News.