Isolated by its allies, the US has suffered a diplomatic defeat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) which turned down its demand to extend the arms embargo on Iran.

The setback came on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump announced a diplomatic triumph in the Middle East: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) setting up diplomatic relations with Israel in return for its freezing expansion in the West Bank.

Five of Washington's NATO allies along with six others abstained, while China and Russia voted against the resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo that expires on October 18.

United Nations.
United Nations. IANS

Only the Dominican Republic voted with the US.

The results of the remote voting that started on Thursday in the Council that is operating virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, was announced on Friday.

The defeat was a rebuke to the Trump administration, which unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement with Iran to end its nuclear weapons programme.

Under the 2015 agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the Council and Germany, along with the European Union, Tehran undertook to reduce the amount of uranium it enriches and cut its stockpile of enriched uranium to a level that would prevent it from making nuclear weapons, and take other steps to stop proliferation.

In return, the economic sanctions on Iran were lifted.

Donald Trump and Putin
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Wikimedia commons

Turning down appeals from Washington's European allies, Trump, however, in 2018 backed out of the deal reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Tehran, in turn, began increasing uranium enrichment beyond the level it had agreed to.

Opposing Trump's Unilateral Action

By absenting themselves from the vote, the US allies sent a message to Trump reinforcing their opposition to his unilateral action.

Germany's Deputy Permanent Representative Gunter Sautter said that it was committed to preserving the Iran deal and was working with Britain and France to save it despite US withdrawal and Iran's actions rolling back the agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after the vote: "The Security Council's failure to act decisively in defence of international peace and security is inexcusable.