With No European Backing, US Goes It Alone To Renew Iran Ban

Donald Trump – File Pic

Washington-  As the UN Security Council (UNSC) gears up for a vote on a resolution proposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump to extend an arms embargo on Iran, Washington is increasingly finding itself isolated without even a little help from its European allies.

An opinion piece published by Bloomberg said the Europeans are “disinclined to help the US” at the 15-member Security Council.

“Having needlessly antagonized European leaders from the start of his presidency, Donald Trump cannot now rely on them to back the US in any effort to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring powerful new weapons,” the report said.

The US has circulated a revised resolution to keep in place a UN arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire on October 18 under UNSC Resolution 2231 that enshrined the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.

The Trump administration was forced to water down its first proposal, which required other countries to join the US in sanctioning individuals and entities as well as interdicting cargo to and from Iran.

The new draft is just four paragraphs compared to the original seven-page, 35-paragraph resolution.

It also calls for the weapons ban on Iran to be extended “until the Security Council decides otherwise.”

The Bloomberg piece predicted that Germany, France and Britain “will more than likely back, whether by acclamation or acquiescence, the efforts of China and Russia to sell tanks, missiles and fighter jets” to the Islamic Republic after the embargo expires.

“This would be the diplomatic equivalent to cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face. The European leaders will in effect be acting as unpaid agents for Chinese and Russian weapons makers, since their own arms producers will still feel constrained by American sanctions. In exchange for betraying their principles, they’ll merely enjoy a measure of schadenfreude: the sight of the Trump administration’s humiliation in the Security Council,” it added.

In case of a failure to renew the Iranian arms embargo, the US will likely try to trigger the so-called snapback of the UN sanctions, which had been in place against Iran prior to the nuclear accord’s inking.

This is while Washington forfeited its right to invoke the provision in 2018, when it pulled out of the nuclear accord — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Having burned its own bridges with Europe, the Trump administration might have used intermediaries to make its case, and the most obvious candidates would have been the Arab states …. But here, too, its efforts amounted to too little, too late,” according to the article.

It was referring to a recent letter sent by the six-member Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to the UN to seek an extension of the arms embargo against Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran has “high hopes” that the US will fail in its push to extend the arms ban and will face isolation at the UNSC, urging neighboring countries not to let Washington “exploit” them to advance its own agenda.

“With the Council unlikely to extend the weapons ban, and the chances of a snap-back looking slim, the main hope of denying Iran access to sophisticated arms may rest on the threat of American sanctions against weapons manufacturers. Of course, the threat would be more potent if accompanied by European sanctions as well. But the Trump administration will have to get by without even a little help from America’s friends,” the piece said.

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