UNSC Urged to Reject US Push to Restore Int’l Sanctions on Iran

UNSC Urged to Reject US Push to Restore Int’l Sanctions on Iran UNSC Urged to Reject US Push to Restore Int’l Sanctions on Iran

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the United Nations Security Council to dismiss the United States’ illegal move to restore all international sanctions on Iran using a mechanism within the 2015 nuclear deal.
The US on Thursday submitted a complaint to the 15-member council about Iran’s non-compliance with the nuclear accord, even though Washington itself quit the accord in 2018 and restored its own unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
The complaint triggers the so-called “snapback” mechanism foreseen in the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, enshrined in the UNSC resolution 2231.  
This gives the UN body a 30-day timeframe to decide to extend sanctions relief for Tehran or else the measures will automatically snap back. 
“The UN Security Council should prevent the US—an unapologetic and serial violator of UNSCR 2231—from unilaterally and unlawfully abusing the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, with the stated objective of destroying that very resolution—and along with it, the authority of the Security Council and indeed the UN,” Zarif wrote in a letter to the Indonesian council president of August, according to its full text published by IRNA. 
He noted that the term “snapback” is never employed either in JCPOA or UNSCR 2231, and the US is using it to connote rapidity and automaticity. 
The wording in UNSCR 2231 is actually “reapplication of the provisions of terminated resolutions” under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism that the US has no right to use, according to Zarif, for reasons that he listed in his letter.  



No Actual Participant

The Dispute Resolution Mechanism is only open to actual JCPOA participants,” he stressed. 
Zarif recalled that US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to “cease US participation in the JCPOA” on May 8, 2018, and no longer participated in related meetings and activities.
“The US also violated JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 by unilaterally reimposing sanctions, and even punishing those complying with the resolution,” he said.  
“The US is therefore not a ‘Participant’ by any stretch of imagination.”
Washington argues that it can trigger the return of sanctions because the resolution still names it as a participant to the nuclear deal.
Zarif quoted several US officials as repeatedly admitting in public that they relinquished the right to utilize the provisions of UNSCR 2231 when the US left JCPOA.
The top diplomat also argued that there has not been even a single case of Iran violating its commitments under the accord.
A year after the US exit, Iran scaled back some of its JCPOA commitments in response to the American sanctions and the remaining parties’ inability to make up for their economic impacts. 
“Having repeatedly exhausted the Dispute Resolution Mechanism to absolutely no avail, Iran exercised its rights under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the JCPOA to apply remedial measures and cease performing part of its commitments,” Zarif said in the letter. 



Remaining Parties’ Objection 

The US measure comes after the UN Security Council resoundingly rejected its bid last week to extend an arms embargo on Iran beyond its expiration in October.
All the remaining parties to the nuclear deal immediately notified the council, in letters seen by Reuters, that they did not recognize the US move.
Germany, France and Britain on Thursday described the US attempt to trigger a sanctions snapback as “incompatible” with their efforts to support the already fragile nuclear deal.
“We remain committed to the JCPOA, despite the significant challenges caused by US withdrawal. We believe that we should address the current issue of systematic Iranian non-compliance with its JCPOA obligations through dialogue between JCPOA participants,” they said in a joint statement published on the British government’s website. 
Josep Borrell, European Union foreign policy chief, also recalled in a statement that the US has not participated in any JCPOA-related activities since May 2018. 
“It cannot, therefore, be considered a JCPOA participant state for the purposes of possible sanctions snapback foreseen by the resolution.”
Russia and China have called the move “illegitimate”.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun asked the council president “not to identify and circulate the US communication as a notification” to trigger the process and to consult with all council members on how to proceed.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia rejected the US plan as “nonexistent”. Russia called for the council to meet on Iran on Friday, but diplomats said Washington blocked the request.

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