On May 14, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to US threats to reimpose United Nations (UN) sanctions on Iran if the US proposal to extend the arms embargo against the country is not passed in the UN Security Council.
The plan to trigger a reimposition of all UN sanctions was confirmed by US special representative for Iran and senior adviser to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook, who wrote about it in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal on May 13.
The arms embargo on Iran is due to expire by the end of October this year, as per the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), often known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The administration of Donald Trump has drafted a resolution for the extension of the arms embargo on Iran under the JCPOA, despite having unilaterally withdrawn from it.
Hook wrote that the US plans to impose an arms embargo on Iran “one way or another”, stating that they are ready to “snap back” sanctions “if American diplomacy is frustrated by a veto… the US retains the right to renew the arms embargo by other means.” It would require 9 out 15 votes in the UNSC, and no veto from the five permanent members, China, Russia, UK, France and US, to extend the embargo.
The Iranian government hit back at Hook’s comments, pointing out that the JCPOA is “not his business”. Addressing the press, Zarif said “it is not unexpected from those who advise people to inject bleaches (a reference to Trump’s claims of injecting cleaning agents as treatment for COVID-19) to claim that they are a member of an agreement from which they have withdrawn.”
“The issue is between Iran and the JCPOA parties but not the US,” Zarif added.
The US withdrew from the deal in May 2018, claiming that the JCPOA was “one-sided”, despite having re-certified the deal compliance on the part of Iran twice before. The US later imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, and threatened foreign firms and other nations, including the signatories of JCPOA, with consequences if US sanctions were not complied with.
This eventually led to Iran withdrawing from compliance and considerably scaling down its commitments to the deal, after a year of unilateral sanctions.