US to announce snapback of sanctions on Iran

This is what to expect from the diplomatic battle:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/TOM BRENNER/POOL)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2020
WASHINGTON – Following the Security Council’s rejection of an American proposal to extend the arms embargo on Iran last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said he would notify the Security Council that the US is invoking the “snapback” mechanism, which was a part of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“Thirty days after Secretary Pompeo’s notification, a range of UN sanctions will be restored, including the requirement that Iran suspends all enrichment-related activities,” the Department of State said in a statement. “This will also extend the 13-year arms embargo on Iran.”
Other members of the Security Council, such as China and Russia, argue that the US could not announce snapback since it is no longer a participant in the agreement.
“Even though the United States formally exited the Iran deal, the deal itself was enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution that enables the United States to impose snapback sanctions based on violations or perceived violations by Iran of the terms of the deal,” Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The Jerusalem Post.
“We know that Iran has advanced its nuclear program in ways that violate the JCPOA, so the United States has the right to invoke snapback,” Schanzer added.
Another option for the US is to convince a current participant of the deal to snap back the sanctions. “The focus right now is on countries like the UK and France who, on the one hand, are allies of the United States and almost certainly understand what’s at stake in terms of Iranian malign activity and proliferation. But on the other hand, have opposed the Trump administration exit of the Iran deal and are ambivalent about snapback. So this is the drama that we are watching now,” said Schanzer.
Mike Pregent, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, told the Post that The US has to take this action “because Russia and China basically vetoed the request to extend the arms embargo. It doesn’t matter that the US left the JCPOA. They still have a vote on a snapback, and the US has a pretty strong position here. It’s definitely the right thing to do.”
“This is a power that any country that signed up for the JCOPA has, to snap back sanctions,” he continued. “Other members of the Security Council can’t reverse it. Chapters 11 through 15 of the UN Security Council resolution, talk about the mechanisms that put into place that the US as a permanent member of the Security Council could do it. The US is on solid ground; it’s a tool that the US could use.”
Ned Price, a lecturer at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and former spokesperson of the National Security Council during the Obama administration, told the Post that Pompeo’s attempt to snapback sanction would be “ineffective.”
“This is the consequence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy, which is equal parts reckless and feckless,” he said. “It’s a strategy that has backfired at every turn: Iran has restarted elements of its nuclear program, its proxies are emboldened and the promised “better deal” has never been more elusive. At every step of the way, we were promised the opposite.”
According to Price, “The snapback ploy will be similarly ineffective, as even our closest allies and partners won’t go along with it – and for a good reason. And the Trump administration knows this. But they also have an ulterior motive: at this point, they’re trying to make it as difficult as possible for a Biden administration to revive the JCPOA. This is a move animated more by spite than it is by any genuine effort to restrict Iran’s nuclear program. If the latter were the goal, rejoining the JCPOA would be the most effective approach.”

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