Foreign Policy

They’re Not Wrong

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime wants to extend an arms embargo on Iran initially approved under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama Administration. Trump's lackeys at the U.N. are threatening to reimpose all sanctions if the United Nations Security Council doesn't agree to it, but it's crystal clear that they're not going to.

Russia and China both have veto power as members of the Security Council and they're being very frank about the matter.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the 15-member council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018.

Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week, that the United States was being “ridiculous and irresponsible.”

“This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one’s cake and eating it,” Lavrov wrote. [...]

The United States, no longer a participant to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) after walking away from it, has no right to demand the Security Council invoke a snapback,” Wang wrote in his June 7 letter.

I don't want to agree with a mobbed-up dirtbag like Sergey Lavrov, but I try to be an honest person so I don't have much choice here.

To say that the United states is trying to have their cake and eat it too is appropriate because Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. We are "no longer a participant," as Wang Yi points out, but Trump wants to dictate terms to the other nations who are still a party to the deal. Trump wants to have it both ways. Trump violated the deal and he wants to punish Iran for it. And, you know, of course Russia and China have their own interests in Iran which may include arms sales, but the fact remains that Trump created this situation. Trump gave them all the political and diplomatic leverage by walking away from the deal.

We are “ridiculous and irresponsible" and the other members of the Security Council can rightfully tell us to fuck ourselves. They're not wrong.

The current arms embargo will expire in October or just a few weeks before the presidential election. There's no way Trump will be able to resist making a spectacle.

  • muselet

    The JCPOA was working fine before Donald Trump decided to withdraw and reimpose sanctions (and impose third-party sanctions), for reasons which remain opaque but probably have everything to do with erasing Barack Obama from history.

    Iran was fully in compliance with the agreement, according to the people whose business it is to know such things, including with the requirement to allow intrusive inspections of nuclear sites. Sure, there was some for-domestic-consumption griping, but enthusiasm for inspections was never required.

    If Trump doesn’t get his way on the sanctions snapback, he’ll stamp his feet and complain on Twitter for a while, then announce he’s withdrawing the US from the United Nations.


    • Draxiar

      Not that it matters to him but does he actually have the power to do that? Seems it would be a Congressional decision.

      • muselet

        The answer is probably “no.” On the other hand, I wouldn’t have thought a president could unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA or withhold funding (or withdraw) from WHO, either, but here we are.

        And yes, the big reason he can get away with this stuff is that the Rs won’t defend the Senate’s prerogatives. They’re too busy, as Charlie Pierce says, seeding the federal judiciary with larval Scalias.


        • Draxiar

          Fair points. I keep forgetting that that the concerns for the limits of power for Republicans ended when their poisonous messiah was elected.