To Pressure Iran, Pompeo Will Argue US Remains a Party to Nuclear Deal

US withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018

For years, one of the big criticisms of the US reneging on the P5+1 nuclear deal and withdrawing as a party was that the US had lost its seat at the table as a party to enforcement of the deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now trying to find a way to have his cake and eat it too.

Under a new legal argument Pompeo is in the process of putting together, the US will argue that it is still a party to the nuclear deal with Iran, even though the US withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and never provided promised sanction relief. Pompeo would argue that this allows the US to force snapback sanctions on Iran even if everyone else objects.

Pompeo’s plan will argue that President Obama said at the time of the deal that the US wouldn’t need UN support for a snapback, though its almost certain Obama did not envision the US attempting this years after withdrawing from the deal.

This argument almost certainly will fail, and Russia will be assumed to veto any attempt to enforce snapback at the UN. That Pompeo is even trying this reflects just how flimsy the US arguments have gotten, and potentially that even the hawks are seeing that the pullout from the deal has cost the US some flexibility on the nuclear deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.