The Dangerous Consequences of Trump’s Plan to Snapback UN Sanctions on Iran,

The Security Council decisively rejected a U.S. resolution to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire in October. Despite the humiliating vote on Aug. 14—with 11 abstentions, 2 states voting against, and only the Dominican Republic voting with the United States in favor of the resolution—the Trump administration has signaled that it will try to prevent the embargo from expiring by using what is known as the “snapback” provision in Security Council Resolution 2231.

Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), allows JCPOA participants to reimpose or “snapback” UN sanctions on Iran using a procedure that circumvents the traditional veto power exercised by the five permanent members of the Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Attempting to unilaterally snapback sanctions would be a dangerous escalation in the Trump administration’s already irresponsible policy toward Iran that could have serious ramifications for the JCPOA and the future of the Security Council. In the event the U.S. gambit somehow succeeds, Iran has threatened to take further retaliatory steps, which could include ramping up its uranium enrichment capabilities, curtailing cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, and/or withdrawing from the nuclear deal. […]

It is unclear if the Trump administration will succeed in arguing that it is still a JCPOA participant under Resolution 2231, and therefore entitled to snapback sanctions, even though the United States left the nuclear deal. When Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA in May 2018, he said the United States is no longer a participant in deal. That same day, then then-National Security Advisor John Bolton dismissed the idea that the Trump administration would pursue UN snapback, noting that “we’re out of the deal.”

Bolton, who is notoriously hawkish on Iran and vehemently opposed the JCPOA, reiterated his opposition to the snapback concept in a Aug. 16 Wall Street Journal oped, noting the damage the United States could do to the Security Council veto and arguing that “[i]t’s too cute by half to say we’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t.” Läs artikel