US: France and Britain are 'abdicating their duty' on Iran

US envoy for Iran: We don't need anybody's permission to initiate snapback of sanctions on Iran.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Brian Hook
Brian Hook
Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

The US on Friday accused China, Britain and France of "abdicating their duty" as it pushed to maintain an arms embargo and restore broader UN sanctions on Iran.

"We don't need anybody's permission to initiate snapback," Brian Hook, the State Department's Special Representative for Iran, told reporters, according to AFP, referring to the mechanism activated by Washington on Thursday to restore sanctions.

"Iran is in violation of its voluntary nuclear commitments. The conditions have been met to initiate snapback," added Hook.

The US envoy said the lack of support from any other members of the UN Security Council for the move was moot, and that they had "failed" a week ago by not extending a soon-to-expire arms embargo on Iran as urged by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

"China and Russia and France and the United Kingdom decided to ignore the views of the Gulf Cooperation Council," Hook said.

"These are the countries that are closest to the danger, and the Council had a responsibility to respect their views to extend the arms embargo," added Hook. "It was a very disappointing abdication of duty."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday met in New York with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN ambassador from Indonesia and presented them with the written "snapback" request, which initiates a 30-day period at the end of which the UN sanctions on Iran can be reimposed.

The sanctions had been had been lifted under the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, that aimed to halt Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

The US withdrew from the deal in 2018, but maintains it has the right to force the reimposition of sanctions through the agreement's "snapback" mechanism.

Germany, France and Britain were quick to announce on Thursday that they reject the US initiative to initiate a “snapback” of the UN sanctions on Iran.

“France, Germany and the United Kingdom note that the US ceased to be a participant to the JCPoA following their withdrawal from the deal on May 8, 2018,” the foreign ministers of the three countries said in a joint statement.

The three countries called the move "incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA."

They also warned that the US action could have "serious adverse consequences" on the work of the Security Council.

Hook said whatever the comments from other countries, the mechanism had been activated, and could not be blocked.

"The Security Council at the end of 30 days is going to have all of the UN sanctions restored," he said. "Whether people support or oppose what we are doing is not material."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)