Monday, 13 July, 2020

“Imposing bans on Iran’s shipping network shows lack of vision, strategy in US”

A senior Russian diplomat has criticized the United States for imposing sanctions on the Iranian shipping network, saying the move shows a “lack of strategic thinking and vision” in Washington.

In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said the US is proceeding with its failed policy vis-à-vis Iran.

He added that the problem is not just a lack of creativity in devising sanctions, but “the complete absence of strategic thinking and vision.”

Last December, the US imposed a host of sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company, over the allegation that Tehran supports proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Back then, Washington said the bans would come into force 180 days later with the declared intention of allowing humanitarian supplies companies time to find alternative methods for their shipments to Iran.

Those sanctions took effect on Monday, with US Secretary of State threatening sanctions against trade and maritime industries as well as governments if they engaged in business with the aforementioned companies.

The US Treasury Department’s website also said in guidance notes that the E-Sail sanctions also apply to “agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices.”

Washington re-imposed its sanctions on Iran in May 2018, when it ditched a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.

In another tweet, the Russian diplomat highlighted global criticism of Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The absolute majority of states are unhappy, to put it mildly, with US attempts to derail #JCPOA except for a few countries in the ME region,” wrote Ulyanov.

He also pointed to concerns over Iran’s retaliatory steps away from its commitments of the US, saying Iran’s commitment reduction measures are the “natural result of the US,” which the same Middle Eastern countries support.

Lavrov writes to Guterres over anti-Iran US push at UNSC

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov censured the administration of US President Donald Trump for pursuing a politically motivated campaign against Iran, calling for “universal condemnation” of Washington’s attempts to get the United Nation Security Council to impose a permanent arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council circulated on Monday, Lavrov added that the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement and now has no legal right to try to use the UN Resolution 2231, which endorses the deal, to indefinitely continue the arms embargo against Tehran.

He described as “ridiculous and irresponsible” remarks by US State Department officials that the Trump administration has no plan to resume its commitments under the JCPOA but seeks to invoke rights allegedly deriving from the Resolution 2231.

Under the Resolution 2231, the arms embargo on Iran will be lifted in October 2020; however, the US says it will use a range of options to prevent this and use a Security Council provision to block the expiration of ban.

Elsewhere in his letter, the top Russian diplomat expressed his country’s strong opposition to an indefinite arms embargo and the US’s use of the “snap back” provision.

“We are proceeding on the basis that the United Nations should not become hostage to the political situation in the United States, which has decided to withdraw from the plan,” Lavrov said, adding, “There are no valid grounds for raising in the Security Council the issue of an arms embargo against Iran.”

He noted that the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 “form a single whole” and cannot be considered separately.

Under Article 25 of the UN Charter, “the United States side is obliged to carry out the decisions of the Security Council, rather than undermine them through its unlawful actions,” the Russian foreign minister said.

According to international courts, “a party which disowns or does not fulfill its own obligations cannot be recognized as retaining the rights which it claims to derive from a relationship,” he pointed out.

He said the US had violated the UN resolution by declining to implement the nuclear deal and has therefore “forfeited the possibility” of using the “snap back” provisions.

Lavrov further called on the US to stop undermining the JCPOA and Resolution 2231, saying Russia and “other responsible members of the international community will continue to make every effort” to preserve the nuclear deal.

“The United States must recognize that there are neither legal nor other grounds for its policy of using Security Council mandates to pursue its own selfish interests,” the Russian minister added.

On Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft announced that Washington had shared the draft resolution on the extension of Iran’s arms embargo with Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Estonia which are all members of the Security Council.

Craft urged veto-wielders Moscow and Beijing to join what she claimed “a global consensus on Iran’s conduct.”

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