U.S. moves to ‘snap back’ U.N. sanctions on Iranian regime

Flanked by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, left, and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announces plans to reimpose U.N. sanctions on the Iranian regime at a news conference August 20 in New York. (© Mike Segar/AFP/Getty Imag
Flanked by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, left, and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announces plans to reimpose U.N. sanctions on the Iranian regime at a news conference August 20 in New York. (© Mike Segar/AFP/Getty Imag

The U.S. is restoring U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the regime cannot buy and sell advanced weapons systems or build a nuclear bomb.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the move at the United Nations on August 20 and called for international support in addressing the Iranian regime’s malign behavior.

“Our message is very, very simple: The United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons,” Pompeo said. “These U.N. sanctions will continue the arms embargo.”

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal allows the U.S. to “snap back” sanctions against Iran, a provision Obama-era officials emphasized at the time. The re-imposed sanctions will take effect 30 days from Pompeo’s announcement.

In addition to extending the arms embargo that was set to expire in October, the U.S. action requires the Iranian regime to stop testing ballistic missiles and halt uranium enrichment, which could support a nuclear weapons program.

The move comes as Iran’s leaders in June denied the International Atomic Energy Agency’s request to access two nuclear sites and have repeatedly violated the arms embargo.

A recent U.N. report says Iran’s regime defies the embargo by providing arms to proxy groups and terrorist organizations across the Middle East. The report also said the caches of weapons seized off the coast of Yemen in November 2019 and February 2020 came from Iran, and that weapons used in the September 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields also were of Iranian origin.

Saudi Arabia joined Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in a recent letter urging the U.N. Security Council to renew the arms embargo, Pompeo said. “As Iran’s neighbors, they know better than anyone else the havoc Iran could create with these weapons.”

The U.S. has been using economic sanctions to compel the regime to stop fueling conflicts in the Middle East and halt its pursuit of nuclear weapons. “We will never allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo said.

“Today’s action puts additional pressure on Iran to behave like a normal country and to come back to the bargaining table,” he said.