Emergence of a Soft Balancing against the US in International Community

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US has reimposed UN sanctions against Iran. “The United States expects all UN Member States to fully comply with their obligations to implement these measures… If UN Member States fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity,” Pompeo claimed in a statement.

The new US-Sanctions will be unilateral, since the US is not party to the multilateral nuclear deal (JCPOA) anymore. Those sanctions are not UN-sanctions as US-Secretary of State Pompeo claims. However, he is threatening with bilateral ‘consequences’ for those who do not follow US-unilateralism. It is not excluded that some states will yield to this pressure.

The US is not party neither to the JCPOA not to UNSC-Resolution 2231. To claim this is hypocrisy. The only intention of this administration is to terminate the JCPOA. The next step of this administration will be to ratchet up its unilateral “maximum pressure” campaign” against Iran probably with direct military threats. Presidential candidate Joseph Biden has promised to return to the JCPOA under certain conditions. There will be fierce resistance of the Republicans in the Congress against the lifting of sanctions. In order not to give them any presence, Iran should immediately return to its commitments under the JCPOA. The reason why Iran reduced its obligations, to put pressure on the Europeans, is not relevant anymore.

Although, some argue that these measures will lead to further isolation of the United States in the international community, speaking about ‘isolation’ goes too far. The US can use its power especially in the financial sector to get its will enforced. However, the vote in the UN Security Council against the extension of the arms embargo and the failure to get the support in the UN for the snap back sanctions are a signal of soft balancing against the misuse of power by the US.

If the EU would not abide by Resolution 2231 its “effective multilateralism” would lose significant credibility. Therefore, Josep Borrell, coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, affirmed that the EU will continue to do everything possible to ensure the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA. It is an indication that the JCPOA remains a key pillar of the global non-proliferation architecture of the EU, contributing to regional security.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, did not take any decision to re-impose all UN-sanctions because there would be the “legal uncertainty” whether or not the process was indeed initiated.

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