The Return of UN Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran


Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Trump Administration has always understood that the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East comes from Islamic Republic of Iran, whose violent efforts to spread revolution have killed thousands and upended the lives of millions of innocent people. History shows appeasement only emboldens such regimes. Thus today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism.


Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On August 20, the United States notified the President of the Security Council of Iran’s significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments. This notification triggered the 30-day process leading to the snapback of previously terminated UN sanctions, which became effective at 8pm Eastern Daylight Time on September 19. This means that starting today, all of the provisions of UNSCRs 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, and 1929 that were terminated by UNSCR 2231 are back in effect. Furthermore, the measures contained in paragraphs 7, 8, and 16 to 20 of UNSCR 2231 are now terminated.


The United States took this decisive action because, in addition to Iran’s failure to perform its JCPOA commitments, the Security Council failed to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years. The Security Council’s inaction would have paved the way for Iran to buy all manner of conventional weapons on October 18. Fortunately for the world, the United States took responsible action to stop this from happening. In accordance with our rights under UNSCR 2231, we initiated the snapback process to restore virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions, including the arms embargo. The world will be safer as a result.


The United States expects all UN Member States to fully comply with their obligations to implement these measures. In addition to the arms embargo, this includes restrictions such as the ban on Iran engaging in enrichment and reprocessing-related activities, the prohibition on ballistic missile testing and development by Iran, and sanctions on the transfer of nuclear- and missile-related technologies to Iran, among others. 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.


The return of sanctions today is a step toward international peace and security. The 2015 nuclear deal did not induce Iran to join “the community of nations” as promised. Instead, the mullahs took their newfound wealth and used it to foment death and destruction from Yemen to Iraq to Lebanon and Syria – a predictable outcome. Were it not for U.S. action to restore UN measures, the Iranian regime would soon be able to buy and sell weapons more freely across the globe. Because of the failures of the JCPOA, Iran is nearly five years closer to the expiration of restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment program and reprocessing-related activities, bringing it unacceptably close to a dangerous nuclear breakout capability. However, thanks to the snapback of UN sanctions, Iran is now obligated to suspend enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy-water-related activities. We will never let the world’s leading state sponsor of terror obtain the world’s most deadly weapon.


In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable. Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed.

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