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The New Arab Staff

Trump plans executive order to punish countries involved in Iran arms trade

Donald Trump is preparing the order to be issued within days [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2020

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Donald Trump is preparing an executive order for further sanctions against countries that violate the arms embargo against Iran.




US President Donald Trump will issue an executive order which would allow him to impose US sanctions on any country that violates the UN arms embargo against Iran, sources said.

The executive order is likely to be issued within the next few days and would give Trump the power to inflict secondary sanctions to those in violation of the embargo.

One of the ways he plans to do this, sources told Reuters, is to shut them out of the US market.

This comes as the UN arms embargo reaches its expiration date on 18 October, though critics argue the US, which stepped out of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers in May 2018, has no right to impose such sanctions.

"It is obvious that none of the Security Council members have accepted the eligibility of US claims," said Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nation.

He went on to say that the nuclear deal remains in place and all sanctions on Iran will be lifted under the timelines agreed in 2015.

A sanctions lawyer, Doug Jacobson, told Reuters that the new executive order might be symbolic rather than practical, given that Iran and countries dealing with Iran are already subject to secondary sanctions.

"It’s essentially piling on," Jacobson said.

"It’s designed to send a message on this particular issue ... that the US is unhappy that the other parties (to the Iran nuclear deal) did not agree to a snap back of arms sanctions."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Trump’s plans and on Wednesday said that his country will enforce new "UN" sanctions on Iran starting next week, despite overwhelming consensus that Washington is out of bounds.

"The United States will do what it always does. It will do its share as part of its responsibilities to enable peace, this time in the Middle East," Pompeo told a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

"We'll do all the things we need to do to make sure that those sanctions are enforced," he said.

Pompeo last month headed to the United Nations to announce the "snapback" of sanctions under a 2015 Security Council resolution after failing to extend an embargo on conventional arms sales to Iran.

The resolution allows any participant in a nuclear accord with Iran negotiated under former president Barack Obama to reimpose sanctions, which would take effect one month afterwards.

President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord, which he has repeatedly denounced, but Pompeo argues that the United States remains a "participant" as it was listed in the 2015 resolution.

The sanctions are authorised by a "valid UN Security Council resolution," Pompeo said.

Trump has already enforced sweeping unilateral US sanctions on Iran, inflicting a heavy toll in a bid to curb the clerical state's regional influence.

The United Nations has clearly said that it cannot proceed with the reimposition of UN sanctions, with 13 of the Security Council's 15 nations objecting to the US move.

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