Pompeo at UN Promotes Snapback Sanctions on Iran

Another 1.4 Million Americans Apply for Unemployment Benefits
August 21, 2020
US Isolated at the UN on Iran, Media React
August 21, 2020

Pompeo at UN Promotes Snapback Sanctions on Iran

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Since Iranians ended a generation of US/UK installed fascist tyranny in 1979, efforts by bipartisan hardliners in Washington to return the Islamic Republic to US client state status failed.

So-called “maximum pressure” policies by the Trump regime toward Iran exceed the toughness of its predecessors.

An “Iranian threat” that doesn’t exist was invented to unjustifiably justify pursuit of regime change.

In August 2017, Pompeo announced the formation of a so-called “Iran Action Group,” saying at the time:

It’ll “be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to me.”

Everything he and other Trump regime hardliners threw at Iran failed to affect its resiliency.

Yet their war on the country by other means continues unabated — despite clear signs of eroding support by key US allies with regard to the JCPOA.

Last Friday, the Trump regime’s aim to indefinitely extend an expiring arms embargo on Iran was overwhelmingly defeated in the Security Council — only one of its other 14 members supporting the scheme, the Dominican Republic.

On Thursday at the Security Council, Pompeo said he “initiat(ed) the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” adding:

“This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today (sic).”

In May 2018, the Trump regime formally and illegally abandoned the JCPOA, a landmark international agreement affirmed by SC Res. 2231, making it binding international and US constitutional law under the Supremacy Clause — Article VI, Clause 2.

Because of the Trump regime’s unlawful pull-out, it no longer has any say legal over its implementation — clearly no right to impose snapback sanctions on Iran.

The JCPOA provision lets any of its signatories reimpose veto-proof sanctions on Iran that became null and void when the agreement took effect in January 2016.

The original P5+1 is now a P4+1. Only Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany may legally invoke snapback.

They strongly oppose this action because initiating it would undo years of diplomatic efforts that went into establishing the JCPOA they (and likely most other world community members) want preserved.

If Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany, and Brussels refuse to observe Trump regime snapback sanctions on Iran, its ability to enforce them will be limited.

Its unacceptable action may prove counterproductive.

It furthers US decline as an imperial power by demanding key allies go along with policies they reject and most likely won’t support by their actions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif denounced the Trump regime’s attempt to reimpose lifted Security Council sanctions on Tehran as “illegitimate (and) felonious.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US has “no due competence for demanding sanctions.”

Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzya said the following in response to questions asked after Thursday’s SC session:

“No, (Pompeo) is not…triggering a snapback. (This action) can (only) be triggered by a country which is a participant of the JCPOA, which the United States is not.” 

On whether Russia will ignore US invoked snapback, Nebenzya said “we consider snapback as nonexistent.”

The Trump regime’s action created an “abnormal…situation (at the SC) because a country is planning (it has not yet done so, as far as I understand) to present a decision that is invalid and illegal.” 

“But let’s see. Let’s not speculate before the thing happens.”

Nebenzya cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, saying Trump regime threats of sanctions on Moscow will not change its position on snapback.

“We are not alone, I am sure of that,” he stressed, likely referring to other JCPOA signatories wanting the agreement preserved.

Asked if initiating snapback by the US is legal, Nebenzya stressed the following:

“No, of course not. And we will distribute our legal position on the matter where will clearly express what are the deficiencies of this position.” 

“We are aware of the memorandum that the United States distributed unofficially.” 

“All council members got acquainted with it. In it the US presented its arguments – why they have the right to do so.” 

“We believe these arguments are not valid, and we will provide our arguments why this is so.”

Asked what happens next, Nebenzya said “I will not betray all my secrets. I have already betrayed a few,” adding that secretary general Guterres “is not part of this procedure.”

Russia formally requested a Friday follow-up SC session on this issue.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington’s “closest allies” reject snapback, adding:

“The UK, France and Germany said the US lacked standing to restore the measures, having withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal…”

On Thursday, a joint statement by Britain, France and Germany said the following:

Their governments “note that the US ceased to be a participant to the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the deal on 8 May, 2018.”  

“Our position regarding the effectiveness of the US notification pursuant to resolution 2231 has consequently been very clearly expressed to the presidency and all UNSC members.”

“We cannot therefore support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA.”

“The E3 are committed to preserving the processes and institutions which constitute the foundation of multilateralism.” 

“We remain guided by the objective of upholding the authority and integrity of the United Nations Security Council.” 

“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.”

“We remain committed to the JCPOA despite the significant challenges caused by US withdrawal.”

At the same time, the E3 falsely accused Iran of actions “inconsistent with its nuclear commitments (sic),” adding:

“(W)e have serious concerns regarding the implications for regional security of the scheduled expiry of the UN conventional arms embargo, particularly given Iran’s destabilizing activities (sic), which continue unabated (sic).”

When accusations and allegations like the above are made about Iran and other nations on the US target list for regime change by Washington and its Western allies, no evidence is presented to support them because none exists.

These nations are allied with the US imperial agenda, including its wars by hot and other means against nonbelligerent nations threatening no one.

It’s highly likely that Russia and China will reject snapback and maintain normal relations with Iran.

Will E3 countries diverge from US policy on Iran by formally rejecting snapback by its actions to save the landmark agreement?

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

HOW WALL STREET FLEECES AMERICA Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War


“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

BANKER OCCUPATION: Waging Financial War on Humanity

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.