September 17, 2020

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After failure at UN, US says will go solo to block arms trades with Iran

Following a humiliating failure at the UN Security Council to secure an extension of the arms embargo against Iran, the United States has threatened to use its “secondary” sanctions to block any arms trades with Tehran after the expiry of the UN ban next month.

US Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams claimed on Wednesday that Washington could deny access to the US market to anyone who trades in weapons with Tehran.

Sanctions “will have a very significant impact” on arms manufacturers and traders that seek to do business with Tehran, he told reporters.

Asked if Washington is “making concrete plans now for secondary sanctions” to enforce the arms ban, Abrams replied, “We are, in many ways, and we will have some announcements over the weekend and more announcements on Monday and then subsequent days next week.”

The US uses what it calls “secondary sanctions” to pressure third parties into stopping their activities with the sanctioned country.

The administration of US President Donald Trump suffered an embarrassing loss on August 14 as it failed to renew the Iranian arms embargo through a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Russia and China voted against the motion and the remaining 11 council members, including France, Germany and the UK, abstained.

The embargo will be lifted on October 18 under UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

‘Pulling a trigger, but no bullet comes out’

After failing to keep the Iranian arms ban in place, the US filed an official complaint with the UNSC, accusing Iran of violating the JCPOA.

Washington claimed that it is still a participant in the JCPOA and therefore retains the right to activate a 30-day countdown to a return of all UN sanctions that had been imposed on Tehran before the nuclear accord.

However, the remaining signatories to the deal maintained that the US could not trigger the so-called snapback mechanism because it had already left the accord in May 2018.

“It’s like pulling a trigger and no bullet comes out,” Reuters cited a senior UN Security Council diplomat as saying on condition of anonymity. “There will be no snapback, the sanctions will remain suspended, the JCPOA will remain in place.”

This weekend, the countdown ends for a return of UN restrictive measures that the Trump administration claims to have initiated against Iran.

Speaking on Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday and Sunday will mark a “victory” of the Iranian nation and a “humiliating defeat” of the US in activating the “snapback” mechanism.

Washington wanted to portray this weekend as a victory for itself, but it could not “even get a [Security Council] member onboard and take a step to start [the mechanism], so how would it succeed?” he exclaimed.

Abrams, however, reiterated the claim that nearly all UN sanctions against Iran will return Saturday.

“The arms embargo will not be re-imposed indefinitely and other restrictions will return, including the ban on Iran engaging in enrichment and reprocessing related activities, the prohibition on ballistic missiles testing and development and sanctions on the transfer of nuclear and missile related technologies to Iran,” he said. “Virtually all UN sanctions on Iran will come back and be in place this weekend at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday.”

UN chief: It’s up to UNSC to decide

Shortly after the US notified the UN of its intention to activate the snapback mechanism, ex-UN Security Council President Triansyah Djani, who helmed the body in August, dismissed the push citing a lack of consensus within the Council on Washington’s standing to trigger the sanctions renewal mechanism.

Reacting to the recent US claims that the sanctions will return against Iran, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was up to the Security Council to decide on the matter.

The Council is “the body that is able to do the interpretation of the Security Council resolutions,” he said. “We will act in line with what the Security Council does.”

Original News : https://presstv.com/Detail/2020/09/17/634281/US-Elliott-Abrams-Iran-arms-sanctions

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