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The US to impose snap-back sanctions on Iran

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The US to impose snap-back sanctions on Iran

Tehran, Iran
Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

US sanctions against Iran will go into effect today at midnight, amid questions about the legality of the move.

After a resolution to continue an arms embargo against Iran failed to pass the UN Security Council, the US will sanction Iran by invoking the snap-back mechanism of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA). The mechanism allows for any party to the agreement to reimpose UN sanctions over Iran by circumventing vetoes from fellow members if Iran breaches the restrictions set upon by the deal. Virtually every member of the Security Council has rejected the US move on the basis that the US is no longer a party to the Iran nuclear deal.

The move is likely to further deteriorate the relations between the US and Iran, following the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Solemani earlier this year and Iran’s retaliatory ballistic missile strike against US bases in Iraq. Expect the US to pressure its allies to comply with the sanctions, but it is unclear if Washington will follow through on its threat should they be violated. Moreover, the move will empower hardliners in Iran, who will likely pressure President Hassan Rouhani into finally abandoning the JCPOA. Any response by Iran will likely depend on other member states’ reactions to the US move and the results of the November US presidential election.

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