MSN.com By AFP Monday, Sept., 21, 2020
The United States said Monday it was imposing sanctions on Iran’s defense ministry and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro under a contested UN authority and demanded that Europe follow suit.
President Donald Trump’s administration named 27 people or entities that it said would be subject to UN sanctions, but the world body itself says that the decision is not up to Washington.
“The United States has now restored UN sanctions on Iran,” Trump said in a statement.
“My actions today send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran.”
The Trump administration argues that it is enforcing a UN arms embargo that Iran has violated, including through an attack on Saudi oil facilities.
But it is using a UN resolution that blessed a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran negotiated by former president Barack Obama.
Trump pulled out of the resolution with fanfare in 2018 but argues that the United States is still a “participant” in the accord as it was listed in the 2015 resolution.
The legal argument has been rejected by virtually all nations on the UN Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying that the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution on Iran’s nuclear program.
“We have made it very clear that every member state in the United Nations has a responsibility to enforce the sanctions,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters when asked about European opposition.
“That certainly includes the United Kingdom, France and Germany. We will have every expectation that those nations enforce these sanctions,” he said.
“Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide.”