Donald Trump vows 'snapback' over humiliating UN defeat on Iran arms embargo
President says US will unilaterally reinstate sanctions a day after only two countries voted for prolonging embargo
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani spoke of a ‘great success’
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Donald Trump has vowed to use a contentious provision to unilaterally reinstate UN sanctions on Tehran, following what Iran’s president said was a humiliating defeat for the US in its bid to extend an arms embargo on Tehran.
A day after the UN security council overwhelmingly rejected a US resolution to extend the embargo, Trump said at a news conference at his New Jersey golf club: “We’ll be doing a snapback. You’ll be watching it next week.”
The US president was referring to the contested argument that the US remains a “participant” in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – despite Trump’s withdrawal from it – and therefore can force a return to sanctions if it sees Iran as being in violation of its terms.
European allies have been sceptical on whether Washington can force sanctions, however, with experts saying a “snapback” threatens to plunge the council into one of its worst ever diplomatic crises.
Iran’s president said earlier on Saturday that the US had suffered a humiliating defeat when the council voted on the American proposal on Friday.
Russia and China voted against, while 11 members – including France, Germany and Britain – abstained. The US and the Dominican Republic were the only votes in favour.
“I don’t remember the US preparing a resolution for months to strike a blow at the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it garners only one vote,” the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said in a televised speech. “But the great success was that the US was defeated in this conspiracy with humiliation.”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, wrote: “In the 75 years of United Nations history, America has never been so isolated”, while people on the streets of Tehran had mixed reactions.
“This is an American political game. One day they give a resolution to the security council, the next they say they have taken Iranian fuel,” said a worker at the city’s grand bazaar, who gave his name only as Ahmadi.