Bloomberg: The new president of the United Nations Security Council declined Tuesday to remove a hurdle blocking the Trump administration’s effort to restore international sanctions on Iran and effectively kill off what’s left of the 2015 nuclear deal.
In the latest sign of broad international opposition to the U.S. effort, Niger’s Ambassador Abdou Abarry, who holds the rotating presidency of the council this month, said he hasn’t received a request to introduce a resolution rejecting the U.S. plan to “snap back” sanctions.
“I don’t feel I have an obligation at this moment” to introduce a resolution, Abarry told reporters at the UN. He said he is “staying aligned with the position as stated by the ambassador of Indonesia,” the previous council president.
A roundabout strategy for the U.S. would be to get someone on the council to introduce a resolution rejecting the reimposition of sanctions, a measure that would win strong support — and to then exercise the U.S. veto to block the resolution.
Since Secretary of State Michael Pompeo notified the United Nations last month of the U.S. demand to reinstate global sanctions against Iran, 13 of the 15 council members have rejected the move, arguing that the U.S. has no right to invoke the process because it left the nuclear deal two years ago. During his visit to New York in August, Pompeo met with Abarry, tweeting that he looked forward to working with him to carry out the snapback process.
Niger’s position is key because it could come under pressure to introduce a resolution to move the snapback process along before a 30-day deadline to invoke a snapback expires, theoretically leading to the reimposition of all previous UN sanctions on Iran.
Niger took the the presidency of the council on the same day that representatives from all the parties to the Iran nuclear deal, except the U.S., met in Vienna to discuss how to counter the U.S. effort, a rare sign of cooperation between the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China.
The U.S. contends the 2015 nuclear deal failed to permanently rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions and said it allowed the country to use revenue from eased sanctions to fuel unrest from Syria to Yemen. The deal’s supporters say it was the best tool to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, an effort they see as undermined by the U.S. bid to kill the accord.
Also read: Stage set for diplomatic crisis as UNSC rejects Washington’s bid to extend Iran arms ban