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Pompeo Set To Demand Restoration Of UN Sanctions, While Dispute On US Entitlement Continues

SLOVENIA -- U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo speaks during a joint press conference with Slovenian Prime Minister, at the Villa Bleb in Bled, August 13, 2020

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is allegedly set to endorse the "snapback" mechanism of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in a visit to the United Nations on Thursday, with the intended purpose of restoring U.N. sanctions on Iran. The U.S.’ ability to restore sanctions using the mechanism continues to be debated, even by President Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Pompeo is likely to propose the return of sanctions on Iran during his upcoming visit to the U.N. Last week, the United Nations Security Council rejected a U.S. proposal to extend Iran’s long-standing arms embargo, with Pompeo releasing a statement calling the vote “inexcusable.”

Opponents of the U.S.’ attempt to extend the arms embargo include Iran, its Security Council allies Russia and China, as well as Britain, France and Germany, the three European members of the 2015 U.N.-endorsed nuclear agreement officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Opponents have challenged the legality of such a move by the U.S., arguing that the nation, which left the JCPOA agreement in May 2018, relinquished its right to invoke the provisions of the agreement.

Even the former Trump National Security adviser John Bolton is now arguing that the U.S. has lost its standing to invoke the snapback mechanism of the JCPOA, Bolton who still defends the U.S.’ pulling back from the JCPOA, has also said that a U.S. move to invoke the snapback mechanism could cause damage to its veto power in the Security Council. In an interview with BBC Persian Television on August 18, Bolton said the United States should instead focus on regime change in Iran.

According to the JCPOA, any one of the original six countries in the agreement – the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – can invoke the snapback provision to restore sanctions on Iran.

The other countries in the JCPOA have the power to introduce a resolution to extend sanctions relief to Iran, but according to Associated Press, some U.N. experts believe that the others will just ignore the U.S. move and not engage with the country’s threats.