Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said the United States “risks defeat” in its decision to reimpose UN sanctions on the country, with European allies calling the unilateral declaration void.
In a televised speech, Rouhani said Iran “would give an overwhelming response to American harassment”.
The Trump administration said the measures were reimposed as part of a deal the United States abandoned.
The UK, France and Germany said the US has no power to carry out such a move.
The three countries – alongside China, Russia and the United States – were parties to a landmark deal signed with Iran in 2015 to curb its nuclear program.
But President Donald Trump, critic of the Obama-era deal, withdrew the United States from it in 2018.
Iran has started to violate certain commitments it had made, including enriching more uranium than it should.
The United States said the country should be punished, saying all UN sanctions that had been suspended would be reimposed – a mechanism agreed to in the deal called a “snapback” – and an embargo on conventional arms against Iran would no longer expire on October 18.
But Washington’s announcement was rejected by virtually all members of the UN Security Council, and the body did not take it any further. The impact of the decision remains uncertain.
How did Iran react?
In his speech, Rohani added: “America is approaching some defeat in its sanctions movement … It has faced defeat and a negative response from the international community.”
Previously, the Iranian foreign ministry had called American efforts “futile”, saying that “the American approach is a major threat to international peace and security and an unprecedented threat to the UN and the Security Council. “.
“Iran stresses that if the United States, directly or with the cooperation of a number of its allies, act in accordance with these threats, it will face a serious reaction and should be held accountable for all of its dangerous consequences,” he said in a statement, without elaborating.
How did the world react?
The UK and France, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as Germany, said Washington’s announcement was “incapable of having legal effect” because the US was using a mechanism of the agreement they had abandoned.
“It follows that the decisions and actions that would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its eventual outcome would also be incapable of having legal effect,” they said in a joint statement. “We have worked tirelessly to preserve the nuclear deal and remain committed to doing so. “
The Russian Foreign Ministry, another permanent member of the Security Council, said: “The illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States cannot, by definition, have international legal consequences for other countries.”
On Saturday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council that he could not take any action because “it would appear that there is uncertainty” on the issue. But US officials argue that although they have abandoned the deal, they still have the right to trigger the “snapback” clause.
The announcement came 30 days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the Security Council that the administration was triggering the “snapback” clause.
In a statement on Saturday evening, Pompeo said measures would be announced in the coming days against countries not applying the sanctions, without giving details.
After abandoning the deal, the United States unilaterally reinstated sanctions against Iran which, combined with lower oil prices, crippled the country’s economy, which was also hit hard by the Covid pandemic -19.
The announcement comes about six weeks before the US presidential election. Mr Trump faces his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who has pledged to bring the United States back to the deal.