Things are moving fast in relation to Washington's unilaterally imposed 'snapback' sanctions on Iran, which oddly enough the Trump administration is claiming the authority to imposed based on the JCPOA nuclear deal which it backed out of more than two years ago.
#BREAKING: US believes Iran may have enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb by end of the year, US official says— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) September 20, 2020
Could the stage be set for an October Surprise in the form of a Bush-style preemptive attack on Iran?
Will we witness a little 'shock and awe' in the weeks before November?
EXCLUSIVE - TRUMP TO ISSUE EXECUTIVE ORDER ON MONDAY ALLOWING U.S. TO SANCTION NON-U.S. ACTORS WHO TRADE CONVENTIONAL ARMS WITH IRAN - U.S. OFFICIAL CONFIRMS— *Walter Bloomberg (@DeItaOne) September 20, 2020
But then of course none of this is new territory.
We've been told going back to the 1990's that Iran is always "months" or "weeks" away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. The "clock is ticking" we've been assured now for years and even decades.
Haven't we heard this many times before...It's always just 6 months away...for like 20 years. I literally heard this from an intelligence assessment six months ago...and of of course back in 2012...https://t.co/n0wqxoIiEg— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) September 20, 2020
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Pompeo on Saturday announced the restoration of all sanctions on Iran, following the expiration of a 30-day window for the Islamic Republic to come back into conformity to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
But as even America's European allies point out, Washington is attempting to uphold 'snapback' sanctions based on a deal it pulled out of in May 2018. Undeterred, Pompeo announced the re-implementation of "virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran."
"The United States took this decisive action because, in addition to Iran's failure to perform its JCPOA commitments, the Security Council failed to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years," Pompeo's statement asserted.
"The Security Council's inaction would have paved the way for Iran to buy all manner of conventional weapons on Oct. 18. Fortunately for the world, the United States took responsible action to stop this from happening. In accordance with our rights under UNSCR 2231, we initiated the snapback process to restore virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions, including the arms embargo. The world will be safer as a result," it continued.
Predictably, Iran fired back on Sunday, with President Hassan Rouhani warning that a "crushing response" is coming.
Underscoring America's extreme isolation related to the UN arms embargo, which last month the UN Security Council refused to extend even amid a full US push to force the issue, Rouhani said Washington is facing "certain defeat". This also as Russia and China are among significant powers that will help Iran thwart the US-led blockade.
“America is approaching a certain defeat in its sanctions move … It faced defeat and negative response from the international community. We will never yield to US pressure and Iran will give a crushing response to America’s bullying,” Rouhani said in a televised address according to Reuters. He added:
“America’s maximum pressure against Iran, in its political and legal aspects, has turned into America’s maximum isolation.”
The question remains whether UN member states will ultimately cave to US pressure. Pompeo's announcement put the UN on notice, saying its members must follow through on the following:
- Arms embargo.
- Restrictions on uranium enrichment
- Bans on ballistic missle testing or development
- Sanctions on the transfer of missile-related technology.
The US presidential election will be a big determinant of how all of this is resolved, with the Trump administration thus far appearing unrelenting in following its path of 'maximum pressure' on the Iranians.