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US issues Iran sanctions as its unilateral attempt at UN ignored

In this July 10, 2019 photo, the Iranian flag waves outside of the UN building that hosts the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, office inside in Vienna, Austria. (RONALD ZAK / AP)

WASHINGTON – The United States on Monday announced fresh sanctions and measures against entities and individuals related to Iranian nuclear and conventional weapons programs, a move to support its self-claimed UN snapback sanctions widely ignored by the international community.

US President Donald Trump said that he had issued an executive order to impose sanctions and export controls on more than two dozen entities and individuals “that support Iran’s nuclear, missile, and conventional arms-related activities.”

“The Executive Order I am issuing today blocks the property, and interests in property, in the United States of those who contribute to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” Trump said in a White House statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, standing with other senior  US officials in a press conference, said that the United States had also designated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for his alleged ties with Tehran on conventional arms-related activities.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the international conference on “Unilateralism and International Law” in Tehran, Iran, Oct 21, 2019. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The United States has exerted all the pressure it could on Iran. It had hoped that these sanctions will bring our population to their knees. It didn’t.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister, Iran

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Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, Iran’s Defense Industries Organization and its director, as well as individuals and entities associated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, are also on the sanction list.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Monday dismissed  US sanctions as “nothing new,”  US media reported.

“The United States has exerted all the pressure it could on Iran. It had hoped that these sanctions will bring our population to their knees. It didn’t,” Zarif said during a think tank event.

This latest move came shortly after the Trump administration’s Saturday claim that all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran had been restored according to the “snapback” mechanism under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The United States unilaterally invoked the “snapback” on Aug 20 after its failed and isolated attempt in the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo against Tehran that expires next month.

The overwhelming majority of Security Council members, however, asserted that the United States has no right to invoke the “snapback” mechanism as the country is no longer a participant following its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, on Sunday wrote a letter to the president of the Security Council and UN secretary-general, expressing opposition to the  US unilateral announcement on the return of the UN sanctions on Iran on Saturday.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, speaks at UN headquarters in New York, Sept 12, 2019. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

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In his letter, Zhang said that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and is no longer a JCPOA participant. Therefore, it is illegitimate for the United States to demand the Security Council invoke the snapback mechanism.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell denied on Sunday the unilateral announcement made by the United States to resume UN sanctions on Iran.

Borrell said the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and therefore “cannot initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under the UN Security Council resolution 2231.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that to claim that UN sanctions against Iran have been restored is “wishful thinking,” urging the  US side to “have the courage to finally face the truth and stop speaking on behalf of the UN Security Council.”

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