United Nations will not support Washington's unilateral move to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran, says organization's chief

Secretary-General said the UN will not support US push to restore sanctions against Tehran without the approval of the Security Council, where overwhelming majority of member states oppose Washington’s efforts despite threats.

Antonio Guterres wrote in a letter cited by The Associated Press that “there would appear to be uncertainty” regarding US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Saturday announcement of restoration of “virtually all” UN sanctions against Iran.

Washington claims that it triggered the “snapback” mechanism in the Security Council resolution concerning the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, US, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany. However, considering that Washington unilaterally withdrew from the deal under the Trump administration in 2018, overwhelming majority of Security Council member states consider the restoration triggered by the US illegal and are likely to ignore it.

Guterres noted in the letter that “the Security Council has taken no action subsequent to the receipt of the letter of the U.S. secretary of state, neither have any of its members or its president.”

It is not for the secretary-general to proceed as if no such uncertainty exists.

UN chief added that the organization will not take any action “pending clarification by the Security Council” on whether or not sanctions should be reimposed.

Earlier, Pompeo threatened to any nation that refuses to cooperate with the US regarding the restoration of Iran sanctions with “consequences.”

However, even Washington’s own NATO allies UK, France and Germany have strongly opposed the move in a letter to the UN Security Council cited by AFP, saying that “any decision or action taken with a view to re-installing [the sanctions] would be incapable of legal effect.”

Reacting to Pompeo’s announcement, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy tweeted that “it’s very painful to see how a great country humiliates itself like this.”

Tensions between Iran and the US reignited after the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The agreement was aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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