Trump Admin Unilaterally Imposes UN Sanctions on Iran

UN and European allies reject new measures, US also sanctions Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

On Monday, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Iran under the guise of enforcing stipulations of the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement the US withdrew from in 2018. The US is taking these measures unilaterally, with virtually no international support. The move is not only rejected by the UN Security Council but also by key European allies like the UK, Germany, and France.

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that is meant to replace a UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October. The executive order allows the US to impose sanctions on any individual or entity that sells weapons to Iran.

Announcing the new measures, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted on calling the new sanctions “UN sanctions,” even though a US bid to extend the embargo failed miserably in the UN Security Council.

“The President’s executive order announced today gives us a new and powerful tool to enforce the UN arms embargo and hold those who seek to evade UN sanctions accountable,” Pompeo said.

The US says it has the authority to roll out these new measures under the “snapback” sanctions agreed to in the 2015 nuclear deal, which were meant to go into effect if Iran violates the agreement. But other signatories have pointed out the US is no longer a party to the deal, so Washington has no authority to enforce the UN sanctions. But these facts are not slowing down Pompeo and the rest of the administration.

The administration sanctioned 27 individuals and entities inside Iran’s nuclear, missile, and conventional arms sectors. Iran responded to the measures and said they would have no effect, accusing the US of seeking publicity.

Pompeo also announced new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Iran and Venezuela, two countries under heavy US sanctions, are natural trading partners and have drawn the ire of Washington for their warming ties.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran have worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo.  Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide:  No matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions,” Pompeo said.


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Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave

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Articles by: Dave DeCamp

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