National Security

Trump Says He Will Pursue Snapback Sanctions Against Iran

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna
Reuters

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he will pursue snapback sanctions on Iran as early as next week following the failed U.N. Security Council vote to extend the arms embargo on Iran last Friday.

"We knew what the [U.N. Security Council] vote was going to be but we’ll be doing a snapback," Trump told a reporter. "You’ll be watching it next week."

When further pressed if Washington would consider entering a conference held by Russia to ease tensions with Iran, President Trump said, "probably not."

The snapback strategy is a mechanism written into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), popularly known as the Iran deal, which allows member states to unilaterally reapply sanctions on Iran. Since the arms embargo on Iran is set to expire in October, Washington hopes to use Iran’s clear violations of the JCPOA to keep pressure on Iran,  prohibiting it from purchasing arms and halting progress on its missile and nuclear programs.

"A new resolution to restore sanctions and restrictions on Iran could be vetoed by any permanent member of the Security Council, meaning Russia and/or China could block such action," former White House Iran staffer and Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior adviser Rich Goldberg wrote in July. "The snapback, on the other hand, cannot be blocked by Russia or China. The snapback mechanism is designed to protect the right of the United States to insist upon and force a snapback, with the United States able to veto any resolution submitted to ignore a complaint."

Russia has long been a quiet supporter of the Ayatollah regime. Over recent months, Iranian delegations have made overtures toward tightening security and economic agreements in multiple Kremlin visits.

Republican lawmakers and Iran hawks have already made clear they desire the White House to pursue the snapback policy.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Task Force, told the Washington Free Beacon last week that his group wants snapback sanctions immediately.

"The United States should exercise its legal right under international law to reimpose sanctions on Iran given its persistent threat to world peace," Wilson said. "Snapping back sanctions on Iran is the only way to reinstitute the permanent U.N. arms embargo on Iran that was made temporary by the disastrous nuclear deal."

"Moscow and Beijing have already made it clear that they intend to sell Iran weapons after the termination of the embargo in October, continuing to fuel the terrorism and instability that has roiled the Middle East," Wilson told the Free Beacon.