UN Security Council rejects US request to restore Iran sanctions

President of UN Security Council rejects Trump administration’s demand to "snapback" sanctions imposed on Islamic Republic.

Elad Benari ,

UN Security Council
UN Security Council

The president of the UN Security Council on Tuesday rejected the Trump administration’s demand to restore all UN sanctions on Iran, The Associated Press reports.

Indonesia’s ambassador to the UN, Dian Triansyah Djani, whose country currently holds the rotating council presidency, made the announcement in response to requests from Russia and China to disclose results of his polling of the views of all 15 council members on the US action.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that Washington started the process to restore all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran.

The move to activate the “snapback” came after the UN Security Council rejected the US resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October.

All the council members, except the Dominican Republic, had informed the council president that the US administration’s action was illegal because President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in 2018.

Djani told members at the end of a virtual meeting on the Mideast on Tuesday that there was no general agreement among council members.

“Having contacted the members and received letters from many member countries it is clear to me that there is one member which has a particular position on the issues, while there are significant numbers of members who have contesting views,” he said, according to AP.

“In my view there is no consensus in the council,” Djani continued. “Thus, the president is not in the position to take further action.”

The US Mission to the UN later issued a statement saying the U.S. “is on firm legal ground to initiate the restoration of sanctions” under the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The fact that some council members expressed disagreement with our legal position in an informal (virtual meeting) does not have any legal effect,” the mission said.

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

On Friday, the State Department's Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, accused China, Britain and France of "abdicating their duty" regarding Iran.

"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."