In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Seyed Reza Mirtaher, referring to the US attempt to activate the trigger mechanism after the failure of the UN Security Council to adopt an anti-Iranian resolution, said the lifting of Iran’s arms embargo in October 2020 under Security Council Resolution 2231 is an important achievement of the Iran Nuclear Agreement (also technically called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). But the United States made great efforts to prevent this from happening. In recent months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his senior policy advisor Brian Hook have worked hard to gain the support of those countries, by taking numerous trips to permanent and non-permanent member states of the Security Council.
Intl Resistance Front against US Unilateral Actions
The international affairs analyst said that the important point that emerged during this campaign was that the world is fed up with the Trump administration’s unilateralism and bullying, not only because of Iran, but also as part of a wave of international resistance against unilateral, self-centered and bullying of the US administration so that the Security Council member states have organized a type of resistance front against the United States.
He said the Americans never expected their proposed resolution at the Security Council would face this type of rejection given the wide-ranging consultations they had held. During the recent Security Council voting, 13 countries, including Washington’s European partners abstained. The resolution was rejected by two main opponents of the United States, namely Russia and China. Only the United States and the tiny state of Dominican Republic voted in favor of the resolution.
According to Mirtaher, this was a major setback for the Trump administration and led to strong criticism of his administration’s approach to the issue, especially among American politicians and think tanks.
Trump Administration’s Big Gamble
Referring to anti-Iran figure John Bolton’s criticism of the Trump administration’s actions, he said: “The Trump administration intends to gamble big with the last card it has, and that card makes a strange claim. It says given that the United States has been cited in UNSC Resolution 2231 as one of the countries participating in the JCPOA it should be able to use the “trigger mechanism” set out in the JCPOA agreement.
Referring to the official letter of 13 members of the Security Council to the UNSC President to reject this US claim, the international affairs expert added: “In philosophy, there is a rule called ‘negative proposition because of its subject being non-existing abinitio’, according to which considering that the US officially left the JCPOA cannot claim the return of UN sanctions against Iran just because it is still member of the JCPOA.
“Richard Haass, chairman of the US Council on Foreign Relations, has made a clear point that shows how fundamentally opportunistic Trump’s approach is,” Mirtaher said, referring to statements and perceptions by various countries criticizing the US idea. Haass believes that the United States cannot withdraw from an agreement when it is not in its favor and claim that it should benefit from it when it is in its favor.
13 UNSC Members’ Open Opposition Another Setback For US
He emphasized: How can the United States, which has left the JCPOA demand the rights of a member of JCPOA! This is still the second failure of the Trump administration in its recent campaign against Iran. The first was the failure to pass the resolution, and the second was the explicit stance of 13 of the 15 members of the Security Council against the US claim.
Noting that the United States had submitted its complaint and called for the automatic return of UN sanctions after the 30-day deadline, the international affairs expert, said: “First, this complaint must be submitted through the Security Council President and in the form of a resolution.” While essentially 13 members of the Security Council deny the US claim, it is highly unlikely that the US complaint and the complex technical steps involved will be processed.
Deepest Rift between US & World Nations since WWII
“The Americans’ insistence on this issue will lead to an unprecedented crisis in the Security Council,” Mirtaher said. Since World War II, the differences between the United States and the rest of the world, even Washington’s European partners, have not been so wide, deep, and obvious. The Trump administration seems to have a very difficult way to go, and even if it is approved by the Security Council, there are many buts and ifs about how to implement it.
He reminded: Iran has openly issued serious warnings that any violation of the JCPOA such as the extension of arms sanctions and the return of UN sanctions against Iran, will face serious and decisive reactions from Tehran. Europe will certainly take this into account in its considerations and calculations; because they are Iran’s neighbors anyway, and they have realized that the possibility of re-electing Trump in the November 2020 elections has greatly diminished and they are not willing to take risks and buy Iran’s enmity for the sake of a president who is very likely to lose the race and for a purpose that was not acceptable to them.
US Isolation an Important Strategic Effect in Pursuing Anti-Iran Resolution
The expert on European and American issues called the isolation of the United States one of the most important strategic effects of these developments and explained: Trump’s recent action has caused a severe and unprecedented isolation of the United States in the world. This is not a slogan; because all members of the Security Council have taken an explicit stance against the will of the United States.
Referring to Pompeo’s remarks that senior European officials in private meetings called for the continuation of arms embargoes on Iran, he continued: “The Europeans are sincerely in agreement with the United States on the extension of arms embargoes, but the United States wants to do so within the framework of UNSCR 2231, which guarantees implementation of the JCPOA.” And the Europeans do not want the collapse of the GCPOA. Although the Europeans are in agreement with the Americans on limiting Iran’s military power, they do not want this to be done through the channel of disruption and collapse of JCPOA. While one of the main goals of the Trump administration is to kill the JCPOA and put Iran in front of the international community.
The expert on US and European affairs added: “The important point is that these same Europeans are taking a stand against the United States in their official and public stance.” This shows that they put their security interests ahead of Trump’s political and electoral interests.
Asked if Trump’s presence in power would change Europeans’ position in the days leading up to the election, Mirtaher said: “The US claim that it is launching the ‘trigger mechanism’ and that it is still a participating country in the JCPOA is so strange and even ridiculous that no European official has defended it even the slightest. Even if something happens in the next two months that increases the likelihood of Trump’s re-election it will not change the position of the Europeans.
He stressed: “Europeans know that if the JCPOA is destroyed, not only the prestige of those who consider themselves the architect of the agreement will be lost, but the consequences for the international security system will be very serious. In the first place and directly, the consequences will affect themselves.” There is no reason why they should jeopardize national, international, and regional security for the sake of the interests of not the United States but the Trump administration; So Europeans are unlikely to cooperate with Trump even if he stays in power.
Mirtaher added: “Even if the United States succeeds in advancing the possible launch of the trigger mechanism, Europe will make a serious effort to postpone any practical action in this regard until after November 2020 US elections.”