Trump threatens ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions against Iran

US President Donald Trump has announced that he intends to move next week to trigger a “snapback” of international sanctions against Iran at the United Nations, despite abandoning the deal two years ago.

Trump made the announcement even as he dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a summit of world leaders to discuss increasing Iran tensions, saying he probably would not participate.

“We’ll be doing a snapback,” Trump told reporters on Saturday, one day after the UN Security Council rejected a US bid to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran.

“You’ll be watching it next week.”

The United States has threatened to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran using a provision in a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, known as snapback, even though Trump abandoned the accord in 2018.

Diplomats have said the US would face a tough, messy battle in any such move.

In a social media post, Jarrett Blanc, a former US State Department official involved with the Iran nuclear deal, warned about the consequence of Trump’s decision.

“The cost will be a devastating loss of UNSC authority that will damage the US role in the world for the foreseeable future – but the Trump Administration manifestly is not too worried about damage done to the country rather than to its own ambition,” he wrote.

US ‘humiliation’

The US lost its bid on Friday to extend the UN arms embargo after Putin proposed a summit of world leaders to avoid “confrontation” over the American “snapback” threat.

“Probably not,” Trump said when asked whether he would participate in the Putin-backed summit.

In the Security Council vote, Russia and China opposed extending the weapons ban, which is due to expire in October.

Eleven members abstained, including France, Germany and the UK, while the US and the Dominican Republic were the only “yes” votes.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that the US suffered a humiliating defeat at the Security Council.

“I don’t remember the United States preparing a resolution for months to strike a blow at the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it garners only one vote,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

“But the great success was that the United States was defeated in this conspiracy with humiliation.”

“It’s a serious mistake; we regret that,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday of the Security Council vote in a news conference during a visit to Poland.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the Security Council’s decision not to extend the arms embargo on Iran would lead to further Middle East instability.

“The extremist regime in Iran doesn’t just finance terrorism: it takes an active part in terrorism through its branches around the world and uses it as a political tool. This behaviour represents a danger to regional and international stability,” Ashkenazi said in a statement on Saturday.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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