Ahead of his planned U.N. visit on Thursday to trigger the mechanism for re-introduction of all U.N. sanctions on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Iran's allies Russia and China with sanctions if they refuse to endorse the U.S. move.
When on Wednesday asked by Fox News if the United States would target Russia and China with sanctions if they refuse to back the U.S. move at the U.N. Pompeo said: “Absolutely.”
“We have already done that, where we have seen any country violate ... the current American sanctions, we’ve held every nation accountable for that. We’ll do the same thing with respect to the broader U.N. Security Council sanctions as well,” Pompeo said.
Last week the United Nations Security Council rejected a U.S. proposal to extend Iran’s long-standing arms embargo. Russia and China voted against, eleven other countries including the European members of the nuclear agreement with Iran – France, Germany and Britain, abstained and the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the U.S. draft resolution.
Pompeo released a statement after the vote on Friday and called it “inexcusable”.
According to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), any one of the six signatories – the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – can invoke its "snapback" provision to bring back all U.N. sanctions on Iran. The mechanism has come to be known as the "trigger mechanism".
The administration of President Donald Trump is pushing for support in invoking the provision and the return of U.N. sanctions. "My administration will not allow this Iran nuclear situation to go on," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon".
Opponents have challenged the legality of such a move, arguing that the nation, which left the JCPOA agreement in May 2018, relinquished its right to invoke the provisions of the agreement. However, the U.S. says it has the right to do so as one of the original parties to the agreement.
The complicated legal process following the invocation of the provision will reintroduce all sanctions after 65 days.
According to Reuters, diplomats say Russia, China and other countries are likely to ignore the U.S. move.