Iran dismisses US push to reimpose sanctions
Iran said on Sunday that its arch-foe the United States is facing “maximum isolation” after major powers dismissed a unilateral US declaration that UN sanctions on Tehran were back in force. The Trump administration said the sanctions had been re-activated under the “snapback” mechanism in a landmark 2015 nuclear treaty – despite Washington having withdrawn from the deal. As other signatories cast doubt on the move having any legal effect, Washington threatened to “impose consequences” on states failing to comply. But Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said a concerted campaign by Washington to pressure Tehran had backfired. “We can say that America’s ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran, in its political and legal aspect, has turned into America’s maximum isolation,” he said in a televised cabinet meeting. He also praised the UN Security Council’s approach to the issue as “very valuable” as it ignored “America’s request (and) held no session to consider their request.” The Security Council was what “the Americans always thought of as their point of strength,” he said. The sanctions in question had been lifted when Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US) and Germany signed the 2015 treaty on Iran’s nuclear programme, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, saying the deal – negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama – was insufficient. He also renewed and even strengthened Washington’s own sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic republic. The US insists it is still a participant in the agreement that it stormed out of – but only so it can activate the snapback option, which it announced on August 20. Virtually every other Security Council member disputes Washington’s ability to execute this legal pirouette, and the UN body has not taken the measure any further.