ISA Complaint Will Test JCPOA Panel’s Effectiveness

ISA Complaint Will Test JCPOA Panel’s EffectivenessISA Complaint Will Test JCPOA Panel’s Effectiveness

Iran's response to the US breach of the nuclear deal by extending a sanctions law hinges on the results of the upcoming meeting of an international commission assigned to address disputes related to the pact's implementation, a lawmaker said.

A bill passed almost unanimously by the US Congress earlier this month extended for a decade the Iran Sanctions Act, first adopted in 1996 to target Iran's energy sector.

The US move has met strong criticism from Iranians who see it as a violation of the accord, which was concluded in July 2015 and took effect in January to give Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for rolling back its nuclear program. They have threatened to retaliate.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that Iran will air its grievances in the next meeting of the Joint Commission, a panel representing all seven parties to the agreement tasked with monitoring and addressing issues arising from its implementation.

"The nuclear agreement is an international legal document that has determined the commitments of state [parties] and provides a monitoring mechanism to ensure the thorough implementation of JCPOA by addressing any complaint by the countries involved," said Masoud Goudarzi, who is also a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

JCPOA stands for the formal title of the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

  Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Based on the dispute resolution mechanism envisaged in the deal, Iran can take its grievances to the Joint Commission and if the issue remains unresolved, to foreign ministers of the parties to the accord and finally to an advisory board, which would consist of three members, one independent and the other two appointed by each of the participants in the dispute.

If the issue is still not resolved and Iran deems it to constitute a breach of the nuclear deal, it could treat it as grounds to cease performing its commitments in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes a significant non-performance.

"Under the current circumstances, the Joint Commission meeting is very important. If this mechanism proves ineffective, Iran will act unilaterally to respond to the Americans' lack of full commitment," Goudarzi told ICANA on Wednesday.

The meeting will be held on January 10 at the level of deputy foreign ministers. A directive by President Hassan Rouhani last week to start developing systems for setting up a nuclear-powered marine system and the fuel to power it marked the Islamic Republic's first concrete response to the US sanctions move.

Rouhani has tasked Zarif with using the deal's mechanism to counter any breach committed by the other side to the accord and report to him monthly.

A high-profile committee, set up by Iran's Supreme National Security Council, is responsible for tracking the other side's compliance with the action plan convened on December 7 to decide on the response.


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