What the Snapback Debate Says about the Iran Deal
National Review, Aug. 20, 2020When a U.S. proposal to extend the U.N.’s arms embargo on Iran failed last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was furious. “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement issued on Friday.A meager two countries — the United States and the Dominican Republic — voted for the measure. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and France, along with nine of the council’s non permanent members abstained.Predictably, Russia and China — which want to sell the Iranian regime weapons — vetoed it, despite Tehran’s history of backing terrorist groups across the Middle East and its violations of limits to nuclear enrichment activity under the agreement. Such is the diplomacy of the Iran deal.The U.N.’s conventional arms embargo against Iran is set to expire on October 18, per U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. That resolution implements the Iran deal at the U.N. by lifting international sanctions previously put in place by the Security Council, though it is a legal instrument distinct from the agreement signed in Vienna, whose official name is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Although the United States withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, the other parties remain in the agreement, and Resolution 2231 is still on the books. The expiration of the arms embargo is an outcome that the Trump administration has been working to avoid, in light of Iran’s support for terrorist groups across the Middle East and a transparent willingness on the part of Russia and China to sell Tehran such weapons. Few foreign-policy initiatives find support from Representatives Liz Cheney and Ilhan Omar, but they both signed onto a May letter urging Pompeo to engage in “robust diplomacy to prevent the expiration of the embargo and of U.N. travel restrictions on Iranians engaged in proliferation activities.”With the failure of the embargo extension at the U.N, the Trump administration has moved on to a more controversial backup plan, a special procedure under Resolution 2231 to reimpose all the sanctions that were set to expire as part of the Iran deal. Without snapping sanctions back in place, not only will the conventional arms embargo be lifted in October, so too will five other sets of sanctions imposed by the U.N. at various points before the JCPOA was signed in 2015. The year 2023, for instance, will see an end to restrictions on international support for Iran’s missile program. And 2025 marks the expiration of the U.N. snapback mechanism.
The present controversy at the U.N. is about whether the United States actually has the legal standing to trigger snapback under Resolution 2231, since it withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018. The Trump administration makes no attempt to hide its intentions to undo the Iran deal — with the hopes of pressuring Iran to accept a stricter agreement — and the deal’s backers (former Obama-administration officials, European governments, and many others) see such a snapback of sanctions as its death knell. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Appeasement: The European Sickness
Gatestone Institute, Aug. 24, 2020
Europe is in the grip of a uniquely virulent and pernicious disease that threatens the wellbeing of its peoples and of the world: not Coronavirus, but appeasement. Anglo-French foreign policy in the 1930s was also dominated by appeasement — of Nazi Germany — a policy that failed to prevent one of the greatest catastrophes that ever engulfed civilisation and that led to the deaths of millions.
Now, Britain and France seek to appease the three powers that most threaten the world today: Iran, China and Russia. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, last week both Britain and France genuflected to their arch-enemies by refusing to support their greatest ally, the United States, in its resolution to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran. The US resolution was of course opposed by China and Russia, both of which intend to sell advanced conventional weapons to Iran as soon as the embargo runs out in October.
Back in the 1930s, the aggressive intentions of Nazi Germany were clear. Although appeasement of Hitler was inexcusable, the main reason was perhaps understandable: a prevailing attitude of “peace at any price” following the unexampled butchery of World War I, then still so fresh in everybody’s minds.
Today, the intentions of Khamenei’s Iran are just as clear, and have been frequently demonstrated in imperial aggression across the Middle East, especially against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as well as in its unwavering threats and military actions against Israel.
Even if European countries were so blinkered as to overlook these distant aggressions, how could they ignore the multitude of terrorist and assassination plots mounted by Iranian proxies on their own soil in recent years? As well as the murder and attempted murder of Iranian dissidents, these have included a failed bomb plot against a Paris convention in 2018 and the stockpiling of tons of explosive materials in London in 2015. Only a few years earlier, I was involved in discussions in Downing Street about the killing of British troops in Iraq by Iranian proxies and encountered a widespread reluctance to take any meaningful action.
The excuses for British and French timorousness are less compelling today than they were in the 1930s. They include the hangovers from recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, although compared to the Great War, these affected hardly anyone in Europe. This paralysis is compounded by long-standing and ingrained colonial guilt, exploited for decades by the left to undermine national self-confidence and promote a spirit of appeasement of Middle Eastern countries. Growing Islamic radicalism in both the UK and France, which each have tens of thousands of known jihadists living amongst them, has also served to encourage pusillanimity.
As the economic legacy of the Great Depression fuelled appeasement in the 1930s, today’s commercial entanglement of Europe with China and Russia, combined with apprehension over the post-Covid economic landscape, scare European governments and institutions from alienating either of them. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Europe: Snap Back Iran Sanctions or Snap Global Backbone | Opinion
Abraham Cooper and Johnnie Moore
Newsweek, Aug. 23, 2020
It was a powerful image. French President Macron walking among the smoldering ruins of the Port of Beirut, mobbed by a traumatized Lebanese people and promising a lifeline to a nation feeling abandoned by its own leaders.
Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson dispatched medics, deployed the HMS Enterprise and released five million pounds in humanitarian aid.
Angela Merkel’s Germany announced it would send a 47-strong rescue team, along with one million euros in immediate aid via the German Red Cross, to establish first aid stations in Beirut and provide medical equipment.
These laudatory humanitarian gestures helped those leaders sidestep the elephant in the room—Lebanese Hezbollah and its puppet masters in Tehran.
The Beirut mega-blast may have been an accident. But the ammonium nitrate bomb that killed nearly 100 people and destroyed the Jewish community’s headquarters in Buenos Aires in 1994 was not. Nor were stockpiles of ammonium nitrate discovered across Europe. The 150,000 Iranian missiles embedded within Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, in the year 2020, are certainly no accident. They are all pointed at Israel; if, and when, Ayatollah Khamenei decides to attack, it will guarantee massive death and destruction on both sides of the border and utter devastation for the Lebanese people.
And, of course, the ayatollah is always making threats. In light of this week’s historic Abraham Accord, establishing formal relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, we recall threats issued by Iran against Dubai earlier this year after the United States eliminated Qassem Soleimani. The ayatollah, at the time, threatened to destroy both Dubai and Haifa.
So, you might think that the leaders of France, Germany and the U.K. would join U.S. President Donald Trump in launching “snapback” sanctions against the Iranian regime in order to keep ever-more dangerous weapons out of their hands.
Failure to take such action means that in just a couple of weeks, the U.N. prohibition on the transfer of conventional arms to and from Iran will expire.
China, Russia and perhaps other players are ready to sell advanced jets, tanks and offensive and defensive military systems, just in time for Tehran to increase its threats to the Gulf states and Israel, and to upgrade its support for global terrorism.
Would the Middle East be a safer, more peaceful place if, in three years from now, Iran would be free to pursue its ballistic missile development and speed up its nuclear centrifuge capabilities?
What kind of mullocracy will tomorrow’s European leaders have to deal with if, two years after that, all remaining UN prohibitions expire?
In fact, the “snapback” option was put in place by then-President Barack Obama as a way to win over a wary Congress that never fully bought into the notion that the Iranian regime wouldn’t cheat on the nuclear deal from day one. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Will Iran Strike at Sea or by Land in Response to US ‘Snapback’?
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Aug. 22, 2020
Iran is outraged by the US decision to try to impose “snapback” sanctions. It has sought out support from China and so far that appears to be pushing back against the US plan to impose United Nations sanctions.
But Iran knows that Washington’s plan will not stop with attempts at snapback, as the US recently sought to interdict Iranian gas exports to Venezuela, and Washington has other plans in place to exert maximum pressure on Tehran.
The usual Tehran response to US threats or actions is to strike at sea or by land.
Iran has a weak navy and it doesn’t have a strong army either. What it does have is proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It also has ballistic and cruise missiles and drones that it has invested heavily in. At sea it has fast boats run by the IRGC and new cruise missiles and other weapons, such as mines.
Iran is preparing a list of options, as it has for the last two years, to continue to seek to show the US that it can strike at America’s assets in the region and at US allies. This threat is indicated by Iranian media reports about new missiles and even graphics in Iranian media showing the range of its various missiles and drones.
What do we know so far? Iran is pleased that China appears to be helping to stop the US from pushing snap-back sanctions. The sanctions were an element of the 2015 Iran Deal. Iran’s Press TV has celebrated Beijing’s support.
Iran is seeking a long-term economic deal with Beijing at the same time while the Trump administration has had public feuds with China in the last year over Covid-19 and also a trade war. Recently CNN reported a Chinese submarines using an underground facility as part of China’s increased military activity and naval power. Iran is pleased that it may have found an ally that will eventually stand up to Washington.
In the meantime though, Iran will look to its wheelhouse for how to respond.
The Iranian playbook comes down to two choices. The first choice is for Esmail Ghaani, the man who replaced IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani, to encourage attacks on the US and allies by proxies. Ghaani has been to Iraq recently and to Syria. But he is not well loved in Iraq. He does not know the ground and is not respected by the militias. Coordination with Hezbollah and the Houthis may be slightly less than before. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
Israel Backs U.S. Moves to Restore U.N. Sanctions on Iran, PM Says: NYTimes, Aug. 20, 2020 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the United States’ move on Thursday to restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran and called on world powers to support Washington.
The Battle Over Snapback Sanctions: WSJ Editorial, WSJ, Aug. 21, 2020 — The U.S. notified the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that it would impose “snapback” sanctions on Iran for its failure to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal. The move will trigger a battle at the U.N., but the U.S. has the right to act.
Iran Expert Warns Tehran Regime’s Provocations ‘Going to Get Worse,’ Show Value of ‘Snapback’ Sanctions: Dan Dorman, Fox News, Aug. 21, 2020 — Recent provocations by Iran show that the United States should reimpose sanctions on the Middle Eastern theocracy, Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Pregent told “Your World” Thursday.
Iran ‘Snapback’ Isn’t Worth the Risk: John Bolton, WSJ, Aug. 16, 2020 — For the U.S., there is one point of high principle worth dying in a ditch for at the United Nations: Never impair the Security Council veto.
Explainer: The U.S. Triggered A ‘Snapback’ of U.N. Sanctions on Iran, What Does That Mean?: Michelle Nichols, Reuters, Aug. 20, 2020 — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday triggered a process aimed at restoring all U.N. sanctions on Iran after the U.N. Security Council rejected a U.S. bid to extend a conventional arms embargo on the country.
This week’s Communiqué Isranet, our French “Briefing”, is “ Communiqué: La doctrine Netanyahu (faire la paix avec le monde arabe avant de la faire avec les Palestiniens) est un succès retentissant”