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International News

Trump Demanding Iran Sanctions that Were Dropped in an Obama Deal Be Restored

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Trump Demanding Iran Sanctions that Were Dropped in an Obama Deal Be Restored

2020-08-21 15:14:43

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Mike Pompeo (Image source: Screenshot)

Donald Trump is fanning the flames with Iran again. With everything seemingly quiet the past few months, he instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to travel to the United Nations on Thursday to work toward reimposing U.N. sanctions against Iran, though much of the Security Council finds these actions suspect.

Trump said his decision in 2018 to abandon the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration had spearheaded made the world a safer place.

"Two years ago I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, which was a product of the Obama-Biden foreign policy failure, a failure like few people have seen in terms of the amount of money we paid for absolutely nothing in a short-term deal," said the president.

"I won't say anything because I don't like saying it, but Iran doesn't have so much money to give to the world anymore — to the terrorists, to go to al-Qaeda, various other groups of people that they were using."

After Trump pulled out of the deal, he stuck Iran with sanctions on multiple occasions over the next year, which left the middle eastern country cash-strapped. The U.S. and Iran have continued to strike back at each other occasionally in the time since. It's been quiet since the coronavirus  pandemic until now, with Trump seemingly pulling this direction out of nowhere.

Pompeo officially notified the Security Council on Thursday that Iran is no longer complying with commitments under the Iran nuclear deal. That allows for "snapback" sanctions to be imposed in 30 days.

It's not a complete surprise out of left field, however, as last week the Security Council rejected a U.S. proposal to extend the arms embargo from the nuclear agreement. The sole vote with the U.S. was the Dominican Republic, and 11 of the 15 members abstained, including France, Britain, and Germany, three nations in the original Iran deal.

A State Department legal opinion says the U.S. has the authority to invoke the snapback provision because it was a "participant state" in the original Iran deal. The agreement does not spell out what happens to a signatory's privileges if it withdraws. Russia, China, and Europeans have all expressed shock that the administration would rely on the snapback.

While other countries will have 30 days to adopt Trump's resolution, experts believe many countries will ignore Trump's request while it waits to see what will happen in November in the presidential election, as perhaps Democratic nominee Joe Biden, if he becomes the next president, won't be as confrontational.

"We have every expectation that they'll be enforced, just like every other U.N. Security Council resolution that is in place," Pompeo said before his trip to the U.M. "The enforcement mechanisms will be just the same enforcement mechanisms we have for all of the U.N. Security Council resolutions."

After his trip, the U.K., France, and Germany said the U.S. didn't have the legal right to impose "snapback" sanctions after it pulled out of the nuclear deal two years ago. 

"No country but the United States has had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with the ayatollahs," said Pompeo after he formally accused Iran of noncompliance with the original deal.

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