US signs order to re-impose UN sanctions on Iran

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The United States on Saturday issued an executive order to re-impose UN sanctions on Iran, five years after they were abandoned under the nuclear deal with global powers.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the sanctions were re-introduced because Iran "failed to perform" its requirements from the 2015 nuclear accord.

He also said the UN Security Council had failed to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years and is set to expire in mid-October.

He said that not extending the embargo would have given Iran the power to "buy all manner of conventional weapons on October 18" and that the US has signed an order to extend it.

"Fortunately for the world, the United States took responsible action to stop this from happening," he said.

"In accordance with our rights under UNSCR 2231, we initiated the snapback process to restore virtually all previously terminated UN actions, including the arms embargo. The world will be safer as a result."

The secretary of state said the sanctions will go into effect immediately.

Mr Pompeo added that the US would announce more measures to strengthen UN sanctions and "hold violators accountable".

The US withdrew from the nuclear accord with Iran in 2018, after Donald ran for presidency saying the agreement was a “terrible” giveaway to Tehran.

The sanctions faceoff comes during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, which began on 15 September and will continue through to October.

Britain, France and Germany said in a statement on Friday that the sanctions, which the United Nations had suspended after the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, would have no legal effect.

The European nations added that they would work to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement signed by Iran and world powers.

Earlier on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said global powers should oppose the United States’ use of sanctions or expect to face sanctions themselves.

World powers should oppose the United States’ use of sanctions or expect to face sanctions themselves, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday. AFP

“The Americans as a rule act as a bully and impose sanction... The world community should decide how to act towards bullying,” Mr Zarif told Iranian state television hours before the announcement in Washington.

“As they (other countries) will face the same thing tomorrow when America takes the same action towards the Nord Stream project, as well as other projects because a bully will continue to act as a bully if he is allowed to do it once,” Mr Zarif said.

The United States and many European countries oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which they say will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

Separately, the chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards rejected any possibility war with the United States as a “bluff”.

“No power, including the United States, has the conditions to impose a new war on the Iranian nation, so people should not worry about these exaggerated bluffs by the US president,” said Revolutionary Guards Commander Hossein Salami, quoted by the semi-official news agency ISNA.

“Even if the [sanctions] snapback is performed, it will fire blank shots,” Mr Salami added.

“We will go ahead and take our actions if our rights are not fulfilled within the nuclear deal. We’re not afraid of bluffs, threats and intimidations.”

Mr Salami was apparently reacting to a tweet by Mr Trump this week in which he said any Iranian attack against the United States would be met by a response “1,000 times greater in magnitude.”

Mr Salami called the threat an “unbelievable exaggeration.” He also rejected reports published earlier this week that Iran was planning to kill the US ambassador to South Africa in retaliation, calling it “ridiculous and laughable” as Iran would not target anyone who wasn’t involved in General Qassem Suleimani killing.

Suleimani, Iran’s most senior military general, was killed in January in Baghdad by a US drone strike.

Updated: September 20, 2020 04:48 AM

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