Europe Will Not Support Unilateral Snapback of Sanctions

Europe Will Not Support Unilateral Snapback of SanctionsEurope Will Not Support Unilateral Snapback of Sanctions

The three European parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement said they would not support the United States' unilateral efforts to restore the United Nations sanctions on Iran, as it is incompatible with their efforts to preserve the unraveling deal. 
"We firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC [UN Security Council]," foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany (E3) said in a joint statement on Friday, published by the French Foreign Ministry. 
The US pulled out of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran. 
The other parties remained committed but failed to make up for the economic impacts of the US pressure, compelling Iran to gradually reduce its compliance to balance the deal. 
As part of its maximum pressure campaign, the US is now making efforts to convince the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which is to expire in October as per the terms of JCPOA. 
It has prepared a relevant resolution to be put to a vote at the council and has threatened to trigger the so-called snapback of UN sanctions, if it is not passed. 
The European countries said although the planned lifting of Iran's arms trade sanctions has "major implications for regional security and stability", they will remain committed to fully implementing Resolution 2231 by which the JCPOA has been endorsed and will not support any decision that could lead to the collapse of the deal. 
"We wish to address the issue in close coordination with Russia and China as remaining participants to the JCPOA, as well as with all other security council members, as well as other key stakeholders," the statement said. 
"We will be guided by these objectives: upholding the authority and integrity of the UN Security Council and working toward regional security and stability."
They also stressed that any concern about Iran's nuclear, ballistic and regional activities should be addressed through negotiation and over the long term rather than by pressure. 
"We continue to believe that the strategy of maximum pressure will not effectively serve this goal, and instead remain committed to holding Iran to account, while pursuing meaningful diplomacy and dialogue," the statement said



European Contention

The European parties contended that they have upheld their JCPOA commitments, including the sanctions lifting, and highlighted efforts to preserve the deal since the US withdrawal. 
"We have gone beyond the commitments required by the agreement to support legitimate trade with Iran, including through INSTEX [Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges], which is fully operational and facilitating transactions." 
INSTEX is devised by Europe to bypass US sanctions and facilitate trade with Iran. Launched last year, it conducted its first transaction in April, but Iranian officials maintain that the transactions are insignificant and do not address Iran's economic woes. 
In the statement, they once again expressed concern over Iran's steps away from its JCPOA commitments, saying they "seriously undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the agreement".
Iran has declared that all its nuclear moves would immediately be reversed once its economic problems are solved. 
The E3, however, finally initiated JCPOA's Dispute Resolution Mechanism in January, to address Iran's non-compliance as they failed to satisfy its demands and convince it to reverse the moves. 
They said they initiated the process "in the hope of finding a diplomatic way forward" and urged Iran to "pursue substantial discussions and actions" in coordination with the remaining JCPOA participants.
"The E3 reaffirm they are ready to engage in a meaningful and realistic approach and await a constructive Iranian response. We will seek a ministerial meeting to urge Iran to cooperate and to take stock of where we stand in the DRM process," they said. 
The three countries also voiced concern about Iran's denial of access requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency to two sites, saying it "risks seriously undermining the global safeguards system if no progress is made".
France, Britain and Germany had submitted a resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors that called on Iran to stop denying the agency access to the two sites and to cooperate fully with it.
The resolution was passed on Friday by a 25-2 margin with seven abstentions. China and Russia opposed the measure. 
"We commend the IAEA for its work in verifying Iran’s safeguards obligations, and call on Iran to cooperate in a timely and complete manner with the IAEA and to grant access to sites as requested by the agency," the E3 statement said. 
Iran argues that the request is based on inadmissible Israeli allegations. 

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