• The U.S. wants the U.N. to snap back sanctions against Iran for ramping up their uranium enrichment activities
  • A U.N. arms embargo against Iran expires Oct. 18
  • Rouhani promises "dangerous consequences" against any country that goes along with the U.S.

The State Department on Monday unveiled the latest round of sanctions against Iran as a group of Republicans senators urged the administration to target Tehran’s financial system, but it was unclear what impact the actions would have.

Iran labeled the sanctions as “bullying” and promised a “crushing response” to the U.S. action.

President Trump is trying to revive the sanctions that forced Iran to negotiate a nuclear deal in 2015 – a deal Trump pulled out of in 2018 – and the sanctions were eased as a result.

Trump has sought to force Iran back to the negotiating table to get what he says would be a better deal to keep Iran from developing a nuclear device. Tehran, however, has shown little inclination to cooperate and has ramped up its uranium enrichment efforts in the interim.

For sanctions to work, Trump needs the cooperation of the international community but there is little chance of that happening with 13 of the 15 U.N. Security Council members declining to back the U.S. gambit.

That reluctance means a 13-year embargo on arms sales to Iran will expire Oct. 18, the U.S. having failed last month to block it. The European Union’s own arms embargo against Iran is scheduled to expire in 2023, depending on whether the International Atomic Energy Agency determines Iran has adhered to the nuclear deal. That, however, doesn’t stop Russia or China from resuming arms sales in coming weeks.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened any country that sells arms to Iran with sanctions.

“Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide. No matter who you are, if you violate the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions,” Pompeo said.

The U.S. has justified sanctions by accusing Iran of breaching the 2015 deal, arguing Tehran’s stepped-up enrichment activities and missile development are illegal and saying the fact that Washington pulled out of the pact does not negate the agreement’s provisions. Thirteen U.N. Security Council members said, however, the U.S. cannot use provisions of a deal to snap back sanctions because it no longer is a party to it.

Ian Johnstone, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, told the New York Times it is unlikely any other country would enforce the sanctions, making them meaningless.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the U.S. inability to get any other country to go along is an embarrassment.

“America is approaching a certain defeat in its sanctions move,” Rouhani said, promising “dangerous consequences” for any country that goes along with the U.S. move.

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Rich Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are urging Trump to take even more action, cutting Iran off from the international SWIFT – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication – financial messaging system to cripple its effort to fund chaos in the Middle East.