A day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused his European allies of siding with the “ayatollahs,” 13 countries on the 15-member UN Security Council opposed the US’ move to reimpose international sanctions on Iran.
The 13 countries have reportedly argued that Washington’s move is void as it is using a process agreed under a nuclear deal that it quit two years ago.
The UK, France, and Germany have said the US did not have the legal right to trigger “snapback” sanctions because it pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
“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,” Pompeo said after formally submitting a complaint accusing Iran of non-compliance with the deal.
Under the nuclear deal, the P5+1 group of powers — the US, China, France, Russia, the UK, and Germany — gave Iran relief from curbs for limits on its sensitive activities and international inspections to show it was not developing nuclear weapons.
The accord has been close to collapse since the US withdrew and reinstated economic sanctions in 2018 in an attempt to force Iran to negotiate a replacement that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear programme and also halt its development of ballistic missiles.
Analysts have said Pompeo’s assertion that Washington’s key European allies are “siding with the ayatollahs” offers a test case of the failures of President Donald Trump’s approach towards Iran and of his foreign policy in general.
After the US defeat at the Security Council last week, US permanent representative Kelly Craft said the Trump administration would “stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo” on Iran.
On Wednesday, the president announced that the US intended to “restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a tweet had said: “US recourse to Dispute Resolution Mechanism in 2231 has NO LEG TO STAND ON.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that the US move was “absurd”.