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Pompeo demands ‘snapback’ sanctions on Iran for violating nuclear deal U.S. abandoned

The United States formally demanded Thursday that the United Nations “snap back” all sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, from which the Trump administration withdrew in 2018. But several European signatories of the agreement disputed U.S. legal authority for the move and said they won’t enforce the sanctions. Nick Schifrin reports.

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  • Stephanie Sy:

    The president's lawyers immediately appealed the ruling, likely sending the case back to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court already rejected Mr. Trump's initial claim of total immunity.

    The United States formally demanded today that the United Nations snap back all sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. already abandoned.

    Foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin is back to fill us in.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Two years ago, the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. But, today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued the U.S. still had the legal authority to use a Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal to punish Iran.

  • Secretary Mike Pompeo:

    Iran will be back under sanctions for ongoing nuclear activity, such as the enrichment of nuclear material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Since the U.S. withdrew and reimposed unilateral sanctions, Iran has enriched uranium and stockpiled enriched uranium at higher levels than the deal allows, although still below levels required to make a nuclear bomb.

    But the other signatories of the deal, the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia, say, because the U.S. withdrew, it does not have the legal authority to take today's step. Those countries cannot stop the U.S. from snapping back these sanctions, but some say they won't help enforce them.

    And then there are political consequences. European officials say that today further strained relations with the U.S. And even former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who led the effort to pull out of the nuclear deal, argues today's step could degrade the power of the Security Council veto.

    Today, Iran displayed ballistic missiles and a new cruise missile, all weapons not covered by the nuclear deal, and called today's U.N. move illegal. Administration officials insist they do have the legal authority and that they can overcome any political consequence.

    And they also that believe Iran is likely to respond to today's move, and that could reduce the chances that a President Biden could resurrect the nuclear deal next year — Stephanie.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Nick Schifrin, thank you very much.

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