United States restores sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program

This Monday the sanctions that the United States has imposed on more than two dozen people and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear, missile and conventional weapons programs come into force, according to a senior US official, quoted by the news agency Reuters.

This decision, taken unilaterally by the Trump Administration, conflicts with the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by the United Nations and from which Trump withdrew in 2018.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told Reuters that Tehran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that the Islamic Republic has resumed long-range missile cooperation with North Korea.

Washington’s more than two dozen sanctions targets include those involved in Iran’s conventional weapons, nuclear and missile programs.

Reply from Tehran

“Illegal and ineffective” were the words used by the Iranian authorities to describe this reinstatement of UN sanctions by Washington and rejected by the Security Council (SC).

The Foreign Ministry of the Persian country warned that this step represents a “threat to international peace and security and an unprecedented threat to the UN and the Security Council.”

In a statement published this Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry assured that Washington “is not only flouting all the principles of international law and the UN Charter, but is also openly challenging the international community through intimidation.”

Iranian President Hasan Rohani warned that “if the United States wants to continue its harassment and take a practical step – to reestablish sanctions – it will face Iran’s firm response.” The chief commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hosein Salamí, sure that Iran is capable of “destroying the interests of the United States and capturing its bases” in the Middle East. The Iranian Parliament is immersed in the process to prepare a bill that, in the event that international sanctions are restored, the Persian country will stop implementing the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows inspections of the IAEA without notice at any facility.

For his part, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced, according to Efe, that in the coming days they will announce a series of measures to “strengthen the application of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable,” making a call attention to countries that oppose the establishment of sanctions.

Limiting Iran’s regional influence is the main objective of these sanctions and comes a week after the signing of the ‘Abraham Accords’ between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel to normalize the ties between the two Arab countries and the Jewish country. . The Trump administration suspects that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, something Tehran denies, and the punitive measures on Monday are the latest in a series that seeks to hamper Iran’s atomic program, which Israel – an ally of Washington – takes as a threat. It should also be borne in mind that on October 18 the UN conventional arms embargo on the Islamic Republic, which was included in the 2015 nuclear agreement, expires, so the United States has wanted to move to maintain the sanctions and from that In this way, warn foreign actors (US entities are already banned from that trade) that if they buy or sell weapons to Iran they will face US sanctions.

These sanctions promoted by the US provide for an executive order against all those who buy or sell conventional weapons to Iran.

In August, Washington initiated a procedure before the UN to reestablish these sanctions, but the majority of the Security Council – including the other powers with the right to veto – considered that the US could not use this mechanism of the nuclear pact.

Germany, France and the United Kingdom, members of the nuclear agreement, again contested the unilateral decision of the United States and maintained that their measures “have no legal effect.”

On Friday, London, Paris and Berlin said on the SC that the UN sanctions relief for Iran would continue beyond Sunday, despite Washington’s claim.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, and Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, described the US move as “illegitimate” and said they will continue the policy of increasingly lax measures for Iran.

Also the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, told the SC that he cannot act on the declaration of the United States that the UN sanctions had been reimposed because it was not clear if they had been resolved.

“It is not for the secretary general to proceed as if there is no such uncertainty,” Guterres said Saturday.

Since the United States’ 2018 exit from the deal, Iran has gradually violated the core boundaries of that deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the size of its enriched uranium stocks, as well as the level of purity. which was allowed to enrich uranium.

The Vienna-based body said Iran had begun violating the limits of the agreement since the US withdrawal.