An arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council is going to expire because several members of the Council -- primarily Russia and China -- would not agree to renew it in the face of Trump's departure from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
Now, because the embargo is ending, and because the Security Council hurt Trump's feelings, the White House wants to trigger a "snapback" which would reimpose all sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of that deal.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will likely travel to New York on Thursday to seek a return of all U.N. sanctions on Iran and meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, diplomats and a U.N. official said.
To trigger a return of the sanctions, the United States will submit a complaint to the 15-member U.N. Security Council about Iran’s non-compliance with the nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018. [...]
But diplomats say the sanctions snapback process will be tough and messy as Russia, China and other countries on the Security Council challenge the legality of the U.S. move given that Washington itself is no longer complying with what Trump called the “worst deal ever” and has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
The United States had threatened to use the sanctions snapback provision in the nuclear deal after it lost a bid in the Security Council on Friday to extend an arms embargo on Tehran, which is due to expire in October.
The same Security Council that voted against renewing the arms embargo is never going to approve a snapback and Trump has no one but himself to blame for it.
Russia and China had their own interests in voting against the arms embargo, of course, because they'd both like to sell arms to Iran. But Trump gave them all the political leverage they need to normalize their own relationship with Iran. Trump unilaterally withdraw from the nuclear deal, not Iran, and Trump has unilaterally reimposed sanctions.
Even if the likes of Russia and China were never sincere in their opposition to Iran's nuclear program, they don't even have to pretend otherwise now.
Trump gave them the greatest of gifts when he turned the United States into the pariah. Trump legitimized all of Iran's ambitions, whatever they may have ever been, and legitimized any new ones they may have now. We have no moral or legal ground to stand on under Trump.
Trump has described President Obama's nuclear deal as a "disaster," but it's him; he's the disaster. And the truth is Trump never understood or appreciated the terms of the deal, he just couldn't conceive of or respect the accomplishments of the first black president.