American unilateralism regarding Iran might return to haunt it
This past Monday. the US president Donald Trump announced a slate of restrictive measures intended to add teeth to its attempt to restore "international" embargo on Iran, but countless political pundits dismissed them nothing more than a show ahead of the US election.
US President Donald Trump signed an order when his administration on Saturday declared it had effectively reinstated sanctions under the so-called “snapback” provision of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
For him and other US top authorities, this provision reimposes international sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted as part of the nuclear deal, but Trump withdrew the United States from the accord in 2018.
Consequently, the vast majority of members in the 15-nation UN Security Council which has the prerogative to implement sanctions view the administration’s attempts to bring back the measures as illegal.
Based on the views of the leading US magazine Foreign Policy, “the unilateral US effort to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran appeared to be in tatters, as key UN powers redoubled their support for the pact, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres rebuffed an appeal from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reimpose multilateral sanctions.”
Pompeo claimed, at a State Department news conference this past Monday, that Trump’s recent order had provided the administration with a “new and powerful tool to enforce the U.N. arms embargo and hold those who seek to evade UN sanctions accountable.”
The very first action under the new executive order, he stated, targeted Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics as well as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who has overseen a major increase in trade between Tehran and Caracas.
The new sanctions mainly targeted top Iranian individuals and entities somehow affiliated with the Islamic Republic’s nuclear enrichment or ballistic missile missions.
Robert O’Brien, White House national security adviser, commnedted the executive order “will result in severe economic sanctions for those nations, corporations and individuals who contribute to the supply, the sale or the transfer of conventional arms to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide. No matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions,” Pompeo remarked.
His rhetoric “widens a diplomatic breach” that started
between the EU and the US when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew
from the nuclear deal in 2018.
This past Sunday, Josep Borrell (top EU diplomat) restated his stance that the US could not impose the international embargo since it was no longer a participant to the deal that had lifted them.
Interestingly, Washington’s “promiscuous use and abuse of sanctions” could potentially damage the status of America as a superpower.
"The more Washington abuses its power, the greater the efforts to find some alternative to the hegemony of the dollar,” Fareed Zakaria, CNN host and Time magazine contributing editor-at-large, stated.
“The Russians and Chinese have for a long time been trying to find ways to skirt dollar control. Infuriated by the Iran sanctions, the Europeans are now doing the same.”
Hence, “the more Trump resorts to sanctions as unilateral cudgels, and the more he wields them to look tough rather than to execute an overarching strategy, the more other countries will resent the United States and push back. This is the real cost of sanctions,” he further stated.