P5+1 Resolution Needed to Address JCPOA Issues

Heshmatollah FalahatpishehHeshmatollah Falahatpisheh

A lawmaker said binding "resolutions" are required, in addition to non-binding "statements", to redress Iran's grievances over the inadequate fulfillment of P5+1 obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

JCPOA is the formal name of the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany) to curtail Tehran's nuclear program in return for the removal of international nuclear-related sanctions.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh also pointed to a statement issued after the Tuesday meeting of the Joint Commission of JCPOA, which says the US has assured the panel of parties to the nuclear deal that the renewal of an anti-Iran sanctions law would not undermine the accord's implementation.

"Iran should request a foreign ministerial meeting of the Joint Commission, and [convince the panel] to adopt a resolution to address JCPOA issues," the lawmaker, who is a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told ICANA on Wednesday.

The high-level international commission, which is tasked with monitoring the historic pact and addressing issues that arise from its implementation, was convened to address Iran's complaint over the US extension of Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years.

***No Trust in US

Falahatpisheh said the US assurance cannot be trusted, as the country is clearly wriggling out of its deal commitments and apparently has no intention to change course.

"The reality is that Americans prevented the breakup of the sanctions regime and are using every excuse to maintain it. It can be forecast that the new US administration will even think up new excuses to tighten sanctions against the Islamic Republic," he said.

Donald Trump, the incoming US president who takes office on January 20, has vowed on the campaign trail to scrap the nuclear pact, although he said at other times he would seek a better deal.

Reports have surfaced in recent weeks that the Trump transition team is examining proposals for new US anti-Iran sanctions that might not technically breach the nuclear deal, over Iran's alleged support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program or human rights charges.

The meeting held in Vienna was co-chaired by deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, Abbas Araqchi, and EU political director, Helga Schmid.

The meeting of the Joint Commission was preceded by an expert-level meeting of its Sanctions Working Group on Monday.  

The final statement, which is posted on the website of the European External Action Service, says that "the Joint Commission underscored the sanctions lifting commitments contained in the JCPOA, in particular as they relate to the ISA, and recognized the United States' assurance that extension of the ISA does not affect in any way the sanctions lifting Iran receives under the deal or the ability of companies to do business in Iran consistent with the JCPOA".

After the panel's session, Araqchi said Iran was convinced by US assurances not to continue following a mechanism envisaged in the action plan to address complaints by any party.

"Iran explained its concern on the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act ... as being a reintroduction of sanctions. I think the joint commission took Iran's concern very seriously," he told reporters.

The UN-endorsed JCPOA says, "The US administration ... will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions … it has ceased applying under this JCPOA."

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 parties involved in the dispute.

If the issue is not resolved and Iran deems it as constituting 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.

ISA, which was first adopted in 1996 to target Iran's energy sector, would have expired by the end of 2016, if it were not extended by a US bill that won unanimous congressional approval and became law last month without requiring a presidential signature.

Its renewal was the latest in a string of anti-Iran motions passed or introduced by the Republican-led Congress since the deal was put in place on January 16, 2016, none of which was vetoed by outgoing president, Barack Obama.  

As the one-year anniversary of the nuclear deal's implementation approaches, Iranian officials are still complaining that the lack of full commitment to the deal by other parties, particularly the US, has prevented the country from reaping the full economic benefits expected under the accord.


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