Iranian officials have called the unilateral effort by the United States to implement snapback sanctions on Iran another failed attempt to enforce their will.
President Hassan Rouhani said Sept. 20 the United States has been trying to once again place sanctions on Iran and has even increased its pressure in the last few months on other countries party to the Iran nuclear deal, yet it has now reached “the final point of failure.” Rouhani said the United States has met failure every step of the way — even amongst “traditional allies” — and was not even able to stop the sanctions on arms from being lifted.
As part of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran’s ability to buy and sell weapons will be lifted. The United States exited the deal in 2018 but has tried to use the snapback mechanism within the deal to implement sanctions on Iran. The other members of the UN Security Council and members of the nuclear deal have rejected the US position, arguing that it is no longer a member of the deal after its exit and cannot use the mechanisms within the deal. After the US exit, sanctions were applied against Iran, blocking or drastically reducing its trade and sale of oil to secondary countries.
As far as the arms embargo, the few companies that would sell arms to Iran have been sanctioned by the United States regardless. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force, said the United States not being able to renew the arms embargo had two qualities. First, it was a political victory for Iran. Second, Iran can now export arms to other countries.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, US Ambassador the United Nations Kelly Craft and national security adviser Robert O’Brien will hold a press conference on Monday, imposing new sanctions on Iran and making a bid for snapback sanctions.
Iran’s foreign minister has become increasingly active on Twitter, responding to US actions and announcements — particularly aiming his tweets at Pompeo, who has been spearheading US policy toward Iran. In one tweet, he called Pompeo a “mythomaniac” and accused the secretary of state of not being able to stop his “pathological lying.”
While Iran is attempting to put on a brave face and calls US sanctions a failure, the reality is that the United States has already sanctioned Iran quite dramatically and European pushback against the United States may not last forever. In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Iranian analyst Mohammad Jamshidi argued that Europe has helped put pressure on Iran even during Trump’s years, especially on the country’s nuclear program. He warned that Iran should not count on the EU to save itself from US actions. Jamshidi argued that Iran should suspend Additional Protocols in response to US sanctions until they reenter the deal.