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Pompeo accuses UK and European allies of ‘siding with Iran’s ayatollahs’ over sanctions

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, accused America’s European allies of “siding with the ayatollahs” over Iran on Thursday after he initiated a controversial procedure to reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran.

Britain, France and Germany said the US did not have the legal right to trigger the so-called “snapback” of sanctions because it withdrew from the Iranian nuclear accord in 2018.

“No country but the United States has had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with the ayatollahs,” Mr Pompeo told reporters.

Mr Pompeo said at the United Nations it would be an “enormous mistake” not to extend the arms embargo on Iran, adding the US will never allow Iran to freely buy and sell conventional weapons such as tanks.

The US formally began the process of activating a controversial mechanism aimed at reimposing sanctions on Iran, a contested move that widens a rift with its European allies and threatens the nuclear deal with Tehran.

The letter, delivered personally to Indonesia’s UN ambassador – who currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency – in New York triggered the beginning of a disputed procedure called a “snapback.”

The procedure, never before used, comes after the US suffered a humiliating defeat at the Security Council last week when it failed to muster support for a resolution to extend a conventional arms embargo on Iran.

The “E3”, as the UK, France and Germany are known, said they cannot support the US move to restore UN sanctions on Iran, saying the action is incompatible with efforts to support the Iran nuclear deal.

“In order to preserve the agreement, we urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with its nuclear commitments and return to full compliance without delay,” the three nations said in a joint statement. 

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