Trump’s Iran Move at UN Strengthens Allies’ America First Snub

Donald Trump during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadh, a day after announcing that he would allow UN Security Council sanctions to

Photographer: Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty Images

The US transition to UN “snap back” nuclear sanctions on Iran includes legal arcana that are unlikely to be resolved soon. What is clear, however, is that the Trump administration has taken a particular approach to inflicting damage on Iran and relations with the United States’ allies.

For critics and supporters, the controversial US attempt to force the restoration of international sanctions on Tehran was top “America First”, a policy that was carried out with little pretense of diplomacy and without regard to the consequences.

They see a conflict between President Donald Trump’s decision to move away from the nuclear deal reached during the Obama administration, relying solely on the architecture of that 2015 deal to demand strict new sanctions on Iran . And following their inauguration, the US mocked its allies for ‘siding with the ayatollahs.’

“We see how ‘America First’ ultimately means America alone,” said Gerard Araud, a former French ambassador to the US and the United Nations who helped negotiate sanctions on Iran. ‘They do not like their allies. They burn down all the bridges that have been built over years of careful diplomacy because of an obsession to kill the Iran deal. ”

To some observers, the U.S. movement is a distillation of Trump’s style in another sense: It’s trying to blow a deal without having anything to replace it. They draw parallels to the debate over health care in the US, where the Trump team has sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any viable alternative on the horizon.

Tracking the escalating conflict between US, Iran: QuickTake

The move came days before Republicans Monday turned down their convention to nominate Trump for the presidency. And the timeline of events – a 30-day window for a United Nations Security Council vote and the October expiration of a UN coat of arms embargo – means that the dispute will be front-and-center in the final weeks of the US election campaign.

European allies express shock and disappointment that the US was so ready to be isolated – first by suffering a humiliating defeat when only one other country, the Dominican Republic, voted with it last week to extend its decaying weapons embargo, and then by calling for snapback about almost universal opposition.

The team led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is trying to “turn an international agreement and the international system on its head,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “There’s really nothing wrong with vandalism on a large scale.”

That maximalist strategy risks major consequences. For the past three years, U.S. allies have maintained a public facade that keeps the trans-Atlantic relationship strong, despite all its similarities and criticism of Trump. But that will now be harder to maintain, especially after Pompeo’s crackdown on siding with the ayatollahs and showing a deception of leadership by refusing to support the US

Trump sends diplomacy out after Push Alliance to Breaking Point

Opposition to the multinational agreement was a foreign policy shouted for Trump, Republicans and some Democrats shortly after it was negotiated. They said it would lift short-term sanctions on Iran without providing a long-term guarantee that the Islamic Republic was not seeking nuclear weapons. In the meantime, they claimed, Iran used fresh investment and cash flows to fuel conflicts from Syria to Yemen.