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US to Try to Trigger Snapback of Sanctions on Iran This Week

US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday he would attempt to reimpose all pre-2015 sanctions on Iran this week, following the defeat suffered by the United States in the UN Security Council on Friday. Referring to the provisions that allow an automatic reversion to sanctions suspended by the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the president promised “a snapback” of all financial and commercial restrictions that were lifted in the deal. The US withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018. According to American diplomats, the snapback provisions survive the cancellation of the accord. Others – including Security Council members – dispute this claim, setting up a pitched diplomatic battle in the UNSC. On Friday, the American-proposed resolution calling for the extension of the international arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire in two months, was voted down handily, with “yea” votes coming from only the United States and the Dominican Republic. While Russia and China voted against, as expected, their vetoes were unnecessary with all 11 other member states abstaining. “I don’t remember the United States preparing a resolution for months … and it garners only one vote,” mocked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Prior to the vote, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested holding a virtual summit of world leaders in which the issue would be resolved, a proposal President Trump said he would “probably not” accept.