US Allies, Russia, and China announced a joint scheme to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. The scheme, which has been defined as a “special purpose vehicle” will facilitate oil transactions between the Iranian government and other global powers which would otherwise be prohibited from conducting business under the current US sanctions.
The Trump administration is understandably irked.
Speaking to a small crowd at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a few choice words about what some European allies that are continuing to engage in business with Iran:
“This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security,” Pompeo told an audience of regime critics on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“By sustaining revenues to the regime, you are solidifying Iran’s ranking as the number one state sponsor of terror, enabling Iran’s violent export of revolution, while the Iranian people scrape by,” Pompeo said at a United Against Nuclear Iran event. “I imagine the corrupt ayatollahs and the IRGC were laughing this morning. This decision is all the more unacceptable given the litany of Iranian-backed terrorist activity inside of Europe.”
Pompeo was referring to the agreement between major European powers and Iran that provides financial incentives to the regime in exchange for Iran’s abstention from developing nuclear weapons. His remarks echoed President Trump’s comments which came earlier in the day:
President Donald Trump decried Tuesday what he called Iran’s “brutal” regime and said the multilateral nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic provided its leaders with a “windfall” they’re using to “sow chaos, death, and disruption.”
“We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump told the United Nations General Assembly. “We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ and threatens Israel with annihilation; they cannot possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We just cannot do it. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”
The U.S. might have to wait. Trump’s remarks came a day after the European Union and other signatories to the nuclear agreement announced a new mechanism to effectively bypass U.S. sanctions. The announcement, which at the moment is mostly symbolic, represents the chipping away at the U.S. sanctions regime by arguably its most important ally. It also represents a temporary political victory for Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who has been vilified at home for, in the view of his political rivals, giving away the country’s nuclear program with nothing to show for it.