Sunday 01 November 2020
News ID: 83027
Publish Date: 20 September 2020 - 21:58
World Berates U.S. Snapback of Iran Sanctions
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran said Sunday the United States was "isolated” after a U.S. unilateral declaration that UN sanctions are back in force against the Islamic Republic was dismissed by other major powers.
The Trump administration said the so-called "snapback” of the sanctions was in effect and threatened to "impose consequences” on any UN member state that fails to comply.
"The United States is very, very isolated in its claims,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. "The whole world is saying nothing has changed.”
The sanctions in question were lifted in 2015 when Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. -- reached a landmark nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
But U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, saying the deal -- negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama -- was insufficient. He also renewed and even strengthened Washington’s own sanctions.
The U.S. insists it is still a participant in the agreement that it stormed out of, but only so it can activate the snapback option, which it announced on August 20.
Virtually every other Security Council member disputes Washington’s ability to execute this legal pirouette, and the UN body has not taken the measure any further.

EU: U.S. Notification Has No Legal Effect

On Sunday, two permanent council members -- France and Britain -- issued a joint statement along with non-permanent member Germany saying the U.S.’s "purported notification” was "incapable of having any legal effect”.
Russia also said the U.S. lacked legal authority.
"The illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States by definition cannot have international legal consequences for other countries,” said its foreign ministry.
Iran brushed off the move and called on the rest of the world to unite against what it called the U.S.’s "reckless actions”.
"This is all much ado about nothing, and I imagine these are the most bitter days and hours for” the United States, said Khatibzadeh.
"Tehran’s message for Washington is clear. Return to the international community, to your commitments, stop rebelling and the world will accept you.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington’s latest move in a statement.
"Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he brazenly claimed of the unilateral American move.
Pompeo promised measures would be announced in the coming days against "violators” of the sanctions to ensure that "Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity”.
With around six weeks to go until the November 3 U.S. election, Trump could unveil those measures in a speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Russia denounced the unilateral declaration as "unacceptable”, saying "the illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States by definition cannot have international legal consequences for other countries.”

Russia to U.S.: Have Courage to Face Reality

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry called on Washington to "have enough courage to face the truth and stop speaking on behalf of the UN Security Council.”
It said Moscow "fully supports” the position of the majority of Security Council members that the U.S. moves are "legally and procedurally null and void.”
Iran issued a stark warning if the U.S. follows through with the unilateral measures.
"If the United States acts on these threats, directly, or with the cooperation of a handful of its puppets,

 it will face a serious response and be responsible for all the dangerous consequences,” its foreign ministry said.
It added that Washington, by leaving the nuclear deal, has "explicitly denied itself of any rights” to use the mechanisms in agreement and UN Resolution 2231, which enshrined the nuclear accord.
In mid-August, the U.S. suffered a resounding defeat at the Security Council when it tried to extend the embargo on conventional weapons being sent to Tehran, which was due to expire in October.
Pompeo responded then with an unusually vehement attack on Britain, France and Germany, accusing them of siding with Iran before announcing the snapback.

Theatrical U.S. Bid to Mislead World  

The Trump administration, however, is acting as if the international sanctions are in place, while the rest of the international community acts as if nothing has changed.
Washington is hammering home that the arms embargo has been extended "indefinitely” and that many activities related to Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are now subject to international sanctions.
"The U.S. continues to mislead the international community by speculating that the UN Security Council conducted some sort of procedures to restore the effect of UNSC resolutions on Iran sanctions, which were cancelled after the signing” of the JCPOA), Russia’s foreign ministry said.
"The facts are that the UN Security Council did not take any action that would lead to the restoration of old sanctions against Iran. All that Washington does is nothing more than a theatrical performance staged in order to subordinate the Security Council to its policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran and turn this authoritative body into its handy tool,” the statement added.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif accused Pompeo of not having read UN resolutions or the nuclear deal.
"He’s now probably waiting for the movie to come out so he can begin to understand it,” he told national television.

Iranians Unmoved

On the streets of Tehran, Iranians complained of difficult economic conditions they attributed to U.S. sanctions.
"It’s really difficult for the people right now. Whether sanctions are reimposed or not, we are living with utmost difficulty,” said Leila Zanganeh, a martial arts instructor.
Danial Namei, an architect, seemed to care little for returning UN sanctions and doubted things could get worse.
"We’ve been through difficult things and it is still ongoing. There’s nothing worse than the worst, after all,” he said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the United States faces defeat in its move to reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran.
"America is approaching a certain defeat in its sanctions move ... It faced defeat and negative response from the international community,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.
"We will never yield to U.S. pressure and Iran will give a crushing response to America’s bullying,” he said.
Iran has dismissed the U.S. sanctions move as "void and illegal” and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council he cannot take any action on the U.S. declaration because "there would appear to be uncertainty” on the issue.
Pompeo said last month that he triggered a 30-day process at the council leading to the return of UN sanctions on Iran on Saturday evening that would also stop a conventional arms embargo on Tehran from expiring on Oct. 18.
But 13 of the 15 Security Council members say Washington’s move is void because Pompeo used a mechanism agreed under the nuclear deal which the United States quit in 2018.
"There would appear to be uncertainty whether or not the process ... was indeed initiated and concomitantly whether or not the (sanctions) terminations ... continue in effect,” Guterres wrote in a letter to the council, seen by Reuters.
"It is not for the Secretary-General to proceed as if no such uncertainty exists,” he said.
UN to Take No Action on U.S. Declaration
UN officials provide administrative and technical support to the Security Council to implement its sanctions regimes and Guterres appoints independent experts to monitor implementation. He said that "pending clarification” of the status of the Iran sanctions, he would not take any action to provide that support.
"It is not for the Secretary-General to proceed as if no such uncertainty exists,” he said.
Pompeo said, "If UN Member States fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures.”
Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy responded on Twitter, "We all clearly said in August that U.S. claims to trigger snapback are illegitimate. Is Washington deaf?”
Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said on Twitter, "U.S. illegal and false ‘deadline’ has come and gone ... Swimming against international currents will only bring it more isolation.”

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