Pompeo's UN Move Against Iran Will Fail. Why Is He Still Pressing It?

24 Jun 2020

Pompeo's UN Move Against Iran Will Fail. Why Is He Still Pressing It?

Moon of Alabama

June 24, 2020



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pushing at the United Nations to prolong the arms embargo against Iran. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which solved the issue of Iran's civil nuclear program, the current arms embargo will be lifted in October.

The U.S., which has left the JCPoA agreement, is using nonsensical arguments to force a renewed embargo. Other UN Security Council veto veto members will obviously reject the move. Pompeo's actions do not have the purpose to achieve something. They are campaign material targeted at a domestic audience.

Part of Pompeo's campaign is a push of 'scary Iran' propaganda.

Here is one example:

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 16:59 UTC · Jun 23, 2020

If the @UN Arms Embargo on Iran expires in October, Iran will be able to buy new fighter aircraft like Russia’s SU-30 and China’s J-10. With these highly lethal aircraft, Europe and Asia could be in Iran’s crosshairs. The U.S. will never let this happen.

The tweet came with an attached map that shows the maximum distance the planes Iran might buy can fly at cruise altitude until they run out of gas.


Pompeo is suggesting that Iran will spend tens of millions on planes, fly them unopposed through the radar coverage of several countries, to let Iranian Kamikaze pilots crash them into some temple in Nepal.

This does not make any sense. No foreign politician will be impressed by this 'argument'. Pompeo's tweet is for consumption at home.

At the UN the U.S. is trying to get a new arms embargo resolution against Iran:


The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a long-awaited U.N. Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution extending an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October, setting the stage for a great-power clash and likely veto in the U.N.’s principal security body, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Foreign Policy.
If passed, the resolution would fall under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, making it legally binding and enforceable. But the U.S. measure, according to several U.N. Security Council diplomats, stands little chance of being adopted by the 15-nation council.
Some council diplomats and other nonproliferation experts see the U.S. move as a way to score political points at home, not to do anything about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.

“The skeptic in me says that the objective of this exercise is to go through the arms embargo resolution, and when it fails, to use that as an excuse to get a snapback of the embargo, and if and when that fails too, to use as a political talking point in the election campaign,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department nonproliferation official now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Since China and Russia are almost certain to ignore any U.N. arms embargo forced by U.S. maneuvers, the practical impact on Iran’s ability to cause mischief will be minimal, he said.

“It’s not actually about stopping any arms from China and Russia, it’s about winning a political argument,” he said.

We explained that the U.S. does not have a 'snapback' option. Russia and China have also clarified that:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the 15-member council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018.

Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week, that the United States was being “ridiculous and irresponsible.”

“This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one’s cake and eating it,” Lavrov wrote.

Washington has threatened to trigger a return of U.N. sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not extend an arms embargo due to expire in October under Tehran’s deal with world powers to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
Lavrov cited a 1971 International Court of Justice opinion, which found that a fundamental principle governing international relationships was that “a party which disowns or does not fulfill its own obligations cannot be recognized as retaining the rights which it claims to derive from the relationship.”

Despite the evident failure to convince others the U.S. continues make stupid arguments:

Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the “road to dystopia” by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
“We see a widening gap between Russia and China and the international community,” Hook said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday evening.

The U.S. has left the JCPoA deal and can not claim a right under that deal to snap back the sanctions that the deal has lifted. It is the U.S. that is isolated. Even its allies do not support the attempt:

“We firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC,” the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany said in a statement on June 19. “We would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPoA.”

The Trump policy against Iran has failed. He has tried a 'maximum pressure' campaign to blackmail Iran into more concessions. But despite sanctions and economic problems caused by them Iran is not willing to talk with him. Its conditions for talks are clear:

“We have no problem with talks with the U.S., but only if Washington fulfils its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, including the new sanctions against Syria under the 'Ceasar's Law', have been helping Iran to strengthen its position:

Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before.

With Iran's influence growing and Russia making inroads even with once staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia it seems that real U.S. influence in the Middle East is on a decisive downturn.

Whatever Pompous Pompeo says or tweets will not change that. But there's a sucker born every minute. Some of those may still fall for the stuff he says.