US Non-Nuclear Bans No Violation of JCPOA

US Non-Nuclear Bans No Violation of JCPOAUS Non-Nuclear Bans No Violation of JCPOA

A political analyst said the new sanctions bill passed by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee does not contravene the nuclear pact, albeit it is against the spirit of the historic agreement.

"This matter was already been raised when [former US president ] Barack Obama was in office. All sides were then convinced that those sanctions were not a breach of JCPOA. There is no difference now," Ali Khorram, a former diplomat and representative to the UN office in Geneva, said in a talk with IRNA.

He was referring to the official title of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Senate committee voted 18-3 in favour of the legislation on May 25, paving the way for its consideration by the full senate.

If passed by the senate, the bill would impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile development and alleged human rights violations.

  Plan to Incense Iran  

The expert on international affairs noted that any nuclear sanctions would be definitely a gross infringement of JCPOA, while those imposed under the pretext of other issues —missile development, terrorism and human rights— are not directly a breach of the accord.

"The Americans seemingly want to raise Iran's ire," he stated, saying, "This would force Iran to violate the deal by itself."

Recalling recent comments by former US secretary of state John Kerry cautioning the senate against imposing new sanctions on Iran, Khorram said, "Kerry warned the senate that this [imposing new sanctions] would lead to Iran's resentment, making it respond in kind."

Because Iran has complied with the nuclear accord, the senate committee had to find other reasons to impose the sanctions, and linked the penalties to Iran's ballistic missile. Citing UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the nuclear deal, he said, the resolution "calls upon" Iran to stop developing its ballistic missile program."This is just a moral duty, but, as a resolution it does not oblige the country to comply," he noted, adding that a call is different from a ban. You can comply with a call or you can ignore it.

"No one can say with certainty as to whether the resolution would be breached by Iran's missile program. The interpretation in this matter rests with the permanent members of the UN Security Council," he told the news agency.

Resolution 2231 "calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles" for eight years after the implementation of the JCPOA in January 2016. Western nations see that as a clear ban, though Iran and other council members, like China and Russia, agree that such work is not banned.

  Need for Caution

Khorram urged officials in Tehran to exercise caution, saying the Americans are trying to draw attention to Iran's ballistic missile, an intention he said could compel the Europeans to follow suit.

"JCPOA will face some hurdles should the American call against Iran's missile program ratchet up," he said, calling on the Foreign Ministry to prepare a contingency plan in this regard. Asked about the Europeans' stance on the missile program, he said, "They are not as opposed as the Americans," although they do not have a favourable view as well.

Therefore, he concluded, if the program emerges as a thorny issue, the Europeans could go along with the US policy.


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