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President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would impose sanctions on any person or entity that contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran or is engaged in providing training and financial support related to those weapons.
Why it matters: The executive order is the first step by the Trump administration to put teeth into its claim that international sanctions on Iran were restored over the weekend, one month after the U.S. initiated the "snapback" process under a United Nations Security Council resolution.
The U.S. has no authority to reimpose sanctions lifted in accordance with the Iran nuclear agreement after President Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, France, Germany and the United Kingdom wrote in a joint statement Sunday.
Why it matters: The U.S. announced it will reimpose sanctions and an arms embargo against Iran as part of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic, which it has accused of financing terrorism and other destabilizing activities across the Middle East.
President Trump responded late Monday to reports that Iran plans to avenge the January killing in an American airstrike of a top general, Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
What he's saying: "Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!" Trump tweeted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday to further cool relations with China and limit Chinese investments in Israel over the new strategic partnership agreement China signed with Iran, Israeli and U.S. officials said.
Why it matters: The Trump administration has been lobbying Israel for two years to scale back its relations with China. Until now, those efforts have had very little success.
The U.S. has officially demanded that sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal be brought back into force, setting the stage for a major diplomatic showdown at the UN Security Council.
Why it matters: The U.S. controversially withdrew from the Iran deal in 2018, but is now invoking its terms in an attempt to restore sanctions on Iran — and possibly to destroy the deal before a potential Biden administration could salvage it. This move is opposed by all of the deal's other signatories.
President Trump confirmed on Wednesday that he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to notify the UN Security Council that the U.S. intends to initiate "snapback" sanctions on Iran. The formal request is expected on Thursday, Israeli officials told Axios.
The backdrop: This move could create a diplomatic and legal crisis unlike any seen before at the Security Council. It comes days after the U.S. failed to mobilize support at the council to extend an international arms embargo on Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the United Nations Security Council's Friday decision rejecting a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran, saying the council "failed ... to hold Iran accountable."
Why it matters: The council voted to allow a 13-year embargo designed to prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons, including aircraft and tanks, to expire this October, despite protests from the U.S., Israel and multiple Arab states, the New York Times reports.
William Evanina, the nation's top counterintelligence official, said Friday that China, Russia and Iran present the most pressing threats for election interference in the 2020 presidential race.
Why it matters: November's election is set to see unprecedented use of vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic, which could delay results and see baseless pushback from President Trump — potentially allowing foreign actors to sow discord.