U.S. Loses Dual Bids to Extend Iran Arms Embargo, Impose Snap-Back Sanctions, Iran Crows; Iran Names Two New Missiles After Military Leaders Killed by U.S. Action; Tehran to Allow IAEA to Inspect Suspected Nuke Development Sites

The United States lost big before the United Nations Security Council on August 14, 2020. The Council rejected a U.S. bid to extend a 13-year old arms embargo on Iran. The embargo was due to expire in October 2020. The resolution managed only two votes in favor—the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the U.N. of failing to uphold its “fundamental mission set.” He also blasted the council, saying, “It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific U.N. restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade. The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Israeli leaders blasted the Council for rejecting the extension. “The decision of the UN Security Council not to renew the arms embargo on Iran is scandalous,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “Iranian terrorism and aggression threaten the peace of the region and the entire world. Instead of opposing weapons sales, the Security Council is encouraging them.” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said, “Iran doesn’t just finance terror, it also carries it out and represents a danger to regional and international stability.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Iran, however, hailed the rejection. Iran president Hassan Rouhani said that “The United States failed in this conspiracy with humiliation.” He went on to say that “In my opinion, this day will go down in the history of our Iran and in the history of fighting global arrogance.” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said, “In the 75 years of United Nations history, America has never been so isolated.” He added, “Despite all the trips, pressure and the hawking, the United States could only mobilize a small country (to vote) with them.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… The Trump administration promised to act “in the coming days” to extend the embargo. U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft said in statement that “The United States has acted in good faith throughout this process and made clear to all parties that failure was simply not an option.” Referring to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the West, Craft gave some indication as to what the U.S. might do. “Under Resolution 2231, the United States has every right to initiate snapback of provisions of previous Security Council resolutions,” Craft said. “In the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

On August 20, 2020, the United States did ask the U.N. Security Council to impose snap-back sanctions against Iran under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, notifying the council that Iran was “in significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments.” The snap-back provision allows sanctions to be reimposed on Iran for failing to comply with the terms of the deal. Reported by The Jewish News Syndicate. Read more… Israel reacted favorably to the Trump administrations request for snap-back sanctions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I commend the United States for its decision to trigger snapback sanctions against Iran. This is the right decision.” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., said, “reimposing the U.N. sanctions on Iran is a critical step to curbing Iranian aggression, which threatens the entire world. The Security Council should not allow the world’s largest terror regime to obtain and trade lethal weapons and ballistic missiles freely. Nor should it pave the way for Iran to fulfill its nuclear ambitions.” Reported by The Jewish News Syndicate. Read more…Alas, the demand fell on deaf ears. The U.N. Ambassador for Indonesia, who currently chairs the council, rejected the demand. Reported by The Hill. Read more…

In a curiously timed announcement, Iran said is naming two new classes of missiles after slain military officials killed by U.S. forces. A new 870-mile range missile is called the “Martyr Hajj Qassem,” named after Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The second is a 620-mile range naval missile named “Martyr Abu Mahdi,” after Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who had close ties with Iran. The ceremony revealing the missiles took place after the U.N. vote failing to extend an embargo against the purchase or sale of weapons from or to Iran. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

In a more recent development, Iran has agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) to inspect two sites where the country is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material. The IAEA said Iran was “voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA and facilitating the IAEA verification activities to resolve the issues.” One site is reported to be Abadeh, south of Isfahan, a location previously identified by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as being the location of a secret facility. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…