The secretary-general of the United Nations said the world body will not support the Trump administration’s move to reimpose sanctions on Iran unless the Security Council first signs off on the penalties.
Antonio Guterres wrote a letter to council members on Sunday that “there would appear to be uncertainty” over whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can trigger a “snapback” mechanism in the Security Council’s resolution on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The Trump administration on Saturday declared that all sanctions against Iran were restored after Pompeo told the council that the “snapback” took effect because the Islamic Republic was in “significant non-performance” with its obligations under the accord.
President Trump withdrew the US from the pact in May 2018, but France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and China are still taking part.
And a majority of the 15-member Security Council claims the US is powerless to use the “snapback” mechanism because it is no longer participating in the 2015 accord brokered by the Obama administration.
But the US said it has legal standing as one of the original countries signing the agreement.
“The Security Council has taken no action subsequent to the receipt of the letter of the U.S. secretary of state, neither have any of its members or its president,” Guterres said in the letter.
A majority of the council members have said that Pompeo’s letter “did not constitute a notification” that a “snapback” was prompted.
Guterres added that the presidents of the council in August and September “have indicated that they were not in a position to take any action in regard to this matter.”
The six remaining world powers in the agreement said the US doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on to reimpose sanctions.
Iran gloated over the US’ predicament, saying it faces “maximum isolation” from the international community.
“We can say that America’s ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran, in its political and legal aspect, has turned into America’s maximum isolation,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
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