Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the US will take every measure necessary to re-enforce UN sanctions on Iran that Washington says have been triggered despite widespread opposition to the move within the Security Council.
Addressing reporters at the State Department alongside UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, Pompeo maintained Washington has the ability to trigger what is known as the “snapback” of all UN sanctions lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal world powers struck with Iran despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the pact.
Pompeo in August went to the UN’s New York headquarters to initiate the reimposition process.
“The United States will do what it always does. It will do its share as part of its responsibilities to enable peace, this time in the Middle East,” Pompeo said ahead of Sunday’s deadline for snapback to be instituted under the 30-day timeline the US says it started in August.
“We’ll do all the things we need to do to make sure those sanctions are enforced,” he added.
Nearly all of the Security Council members, as well as all of the nuclear deal’s remaining participants, dispute the US move to initiate snapback because of Trump’s 2018 decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Washington maintains it still has the authority as a signatory to the Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal, a view shared by none of the other P5+1 powers, the EU or Iran, which all signed the deal.
Shortly after Pompeo visited New York, former UN Security Council President Triansyah Djani, who helmed the body in August, dismissed the US move citing a lack of consensus within the council on the US’ standing to trigger snapback.
“It is clear for me that there is one member that has a particular position on the issues, while there are significant numbers of members who have contesting views,” Djani said after being pressed to comment on the matter by Russian and Chinese ambassadors during a virtual council meeting.
“In my view there is no consensus in the council, thus the president is not in the position to take further action,” he added.
Gunter Sautter, Germany’s deputy envoy to the UN, welcomed Djani’s finding during a convening of the Security Council, and slammed what he said was the “purported notification” delivered by Pompeo, calling it “in legal terms, null and void.”
Asked about the looming crisis while addressing reporters Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres deferred to the council, saying it is “the body that is able to do the interpretation of the Security Council resolutions.”
“We will act in line with what the Security Council does,” he said.