the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran

I notified them that the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231. This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today.


SECRETARY POMPEO: Good afternoon, everyone. Just a few minutes ago, I delivered letters to both the UN Secretary-General Guterres and to the president of the Security Council.

I notified them that the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231. This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today.

Our message is very, very simple: the United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons. These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.

I’m pleased to say, too, that these restored sanctions will also reimpose accountability for other forms of Iranian malign activity that the authors of the nuclear deal foolishly downplayed. Iran will be again prohibited from ballistic missile testing. Iran will be back under sanctions for ongoing nuclear activities – such as the enrichment of nuclear material – that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.

This is happening, of course, at a moment when Iran is refusing to allow the IAEA to inspect sites suspected of undeclared nuclear activity, that were formerly part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

President Trump and this administration have discarded the fiction that the regime merely seeks a peaceful nuclear program. We will never allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Our actions today too should come as no surprise to anyone. Our team has made every diplomatic effort over now almost two years to renew this arms embargo. I want to thank the Dominican Republic for standing with us in this effort.

Our friends in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – the E3 – all told me privately that they don’t want the arms embargo lifted either.

And yet today, in the end, they provided no alternatives, no options. No country but the United States had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution. Instead, they chose to side with ayatollahs. Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, of Lebanon, of Syria – and indeed, their own citizens as well.

In stark contrast, the Gulf Cooperation Council nations deserve praise for showing courage and unity in warning about the danger from Iran.



Two weeks ago, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates sent a letter to the Security Council urging a renewal of the arms embargo before it expired in October.

As Iran’s neighbors, they know better than anyone else the havoc that Iran could create with these weapons. Look, the world – and especially our European friends on the Security Council – should have heeded their words.

America won’t join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead.

The leadership begins with recognizing the Islamic Republic of Iran for what it truly is: a theocratic, revolutionary, brutish regime that will not voluntarily seek peace or make life better for the Iranian people.

The one-sided, foolish nuclear deal didn’t bring security for America, it didn’t bring stability to the Middle East, nor did it moderate the regime’s behavior – and it never can. It never will.

Today’s actions puts additional pressure Iran to behave like a normal country, and to come back to the bargaining table.

We call on the international community to join us in crafting a stronger deal that addresses the full range of Iran’s malign behavior, and protects people of all nations that simply want to live free from Iranian predation.


Thank you. Happy to take a few questions.

MS ORTAGUS: Let’s go start with Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Michelle Nichols from Reuters. As you just mentioned, this process can take up to 30 days, unless someone puts a resolution forward beforehand to extend the sanctions relief on Iran. Has the United States asked the Dominican Republic to do this so you can veto that, or are you considering putting forward that resolution yourself to veto? And on Europe, the – your European colleagues have just put out a statement saying they can’t support this move. Russia has said this is nonexistent. What’s your message to Russia, China, and other countries who may not reimpose sanctions on Iran after 30 days?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, as for the process, we’re confident that a resolution will be introduced. It’s required under Security Council Resolution 2231, and we spoke with the president of the council about that today. We’re confident that that will happen.

As for decisions that other nations make, they’re sovereign countries; they get to make their own choices. But make no mistake about it: It is an enormous mistake not to extend this arms embargo. It’s nuts, right? And I haven’t heard privately from any country that thinks it’s wise, except for perhaps from Iran. Everyone understands that this country – since 1985 alone, the Iranian regime has conducted terrorist operations across Europe. It’s hijacked commercial jets; its bombings murdered innocent Europeans. It’s conducted assassinations of dissidents in Europe, plots to blow up Jewish synagogues. This is all in Europe by the Iranians. Does it make any sense for them to have more weapons?

But we should not forget that just this year they took down a commercial airliner. This is not a nation that is capable of or trustworthy to be able to buy and sell weapon systems. And so I just urge the whole world to unite. We have every capacity under 2231 to do this, and we’ll continue this effort. We’re going to make sure that this arms embargo doesn’t come back in place.

QUESTION: So you’re expecting Indonesia to put forward that resolution to extend —

SECRETARY POMPEO: The resolution’s going to come forward.

MS ORTAGUS: Wait. Let’s go right here.

QUESTION: Thank you. David Wainer from Bloomberg. Secretary of State, what can you —

SECRETARY POMPEO: I can barely hear you. If you could speak up just a bit, sir.

QUESTION: Can you – sorry, it’s the mask. Can you hear me now?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, yes.