US prepares to impose unilateral arms embargo against Iran after failing to garner support in the UN

The US is considering issuing an executive order within days which will threaten secondary sanctions against countries or firms buying or selling arms from and to Iran

September 18, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Credit : Anadolu Agency

After failing to impose “snapback” international sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council, the Trump administration is readying to impose another set of unilateral actions against Iran. The US is considering issuing an executive order within days which will threaten secondary sanctions against countries or firms buying or selling arms from and to Iran, Reuters reported on Thursday, September 17.

US special representative for Venezuela and Iran, Elliott Abrams had earlier claimed on Wednesday, September 16, that the US government will announce the move to impose secondary sanctions on entities indulging in arms trade with Iran over the course of the next week.

The move is in anticipation of the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran in October. The arms embargo was imposed in 2007 by the UNSC resolution 1747 and other subsequent resolutions over the allegations that Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons. After signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran Nuclear Deal with the US and other countries in 2015, the UNSC passed resolution 2231.

The US, claiming that Iran has violated the provisions of the JCPOA and hence the resolution 2231, has tried to reimpose the UN sanctions including the arms embargo. However, other signatories and the UNSC have rejected the US claims last month.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, however, has claimed that on the expiration of the one month notice period he gave to the UNSC on August 20, all the international sanctions, including the arms embargo against Iran, which were imposed before 2016 will automatically come back in force.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, refuted the claim made by Pompeo. He said, nothing new is going to happen on the said date as “US is not a participant” of the JCPOA.

According to the other signatories of the Iran Nuclear Deal – China, Russia, Germany, the UK and France – since the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018, it has no locus standi. They have refused to support the US calls for snapback sanctions against Iran and have vowed to continue adhering to the provisions of the JCPOA in a coordination meeting earlier this month.   

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