The United States unilaterally proclaimed that UN sanctions against Iran were back in force and promised to punish those who violate them, in a move that risks increasing Washington’s isolation but also international tensions.
Iran on Sunday immediately called on the rest of the world to unite against US “reckless actions” while the Russian foreign ministry condemned the unilateral declaration as “illegitimate” and “unacceptable.”
“We expect the international community and all the countries in the world to stand against these reckless actions by the regime in the White House and speak in one voice,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference in Tehran.
“The illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States by definition cannot have international legal consequences for other countries,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a separate statement.
Russia, a key ally of Iran, accused Washington of putting on a “theatrical performance” and insisted that the US statements “do not correspond to reality.”
It accused the US of “trying to force everyone to wear virtual reality goggles” and accept its version of events, adding: “The world is not an American computer game.”
According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the measures were “back in effect” from 8:00 pm Washington time (0000 GMT Sunday).
“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The administration of President Donald Trump also promised to “impose consequences” on any UN member-state which does not comply with the sanctions, even though the United States appears to be the only country in the world which believes they are in force.
The threat is formidable: those deemed to be in defiance by Washington will be denied access to the US financial system and markets. AFP
“If UN member-states fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity,” Pompeo stated.
He promised that measures would be announced in the coming days against “violators.”
With 45 days to go until the November 3 election, Trump could unveil those measures during his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
However, the US is almost alone on the issue: all other major powers – China, Russia and also Washington’s own European allies – have challenged the claim.
“Any decision or action taken with a view to re-installing (the sanctions) would be incapable of legal effect,” France, Britain and Germany said in a joint letter sent Friday to the Security Council.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, also lamented the decision.
“It’s very painful to see how a great country humiliates itself like this, opposes in its obstinate delirium other members of the UN Security Council,” he tweeted.
“We all clearly said in August that US claims to trigger #snapback are illegitimate. Is Washington deaf?”