Monday, 10 August, 2020

Iran’s envoy to UN: US plan to say still a party to nuclear deal ‘a joke’

Iran’s ambassador to the UN says US officials’ calls for an extension of an arms embargo on Tehran lack legal standing in international law, noting that the request will be “certainly” turned down at the Security Council.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks on Friday after Washington drafted a resolution to indefinitely prolong the embargo — which is to be lifted later this year under UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231 that enshrined the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The world’s countries “will not accept to be a partner in the Americans’ very ugly measure that runs against international law.”

“The fact that the United States wants to say that it is a member of the JCPOA and use the path of Resolution 2231 is similar to a joke.”

The UN arms embargo on Iran — in place since 2006/2007- will be lifted in October 2020 — five years after the JCPOA took effect.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Washington was considering “every possibility” to renew the ban on selling conventional arms to Iran.

“We’re not going to let that happen,” he said, adding that the US administration is urging the three European signatories to the JCPOA “to take action which is within their capacity today.”

“We’ll work with the UN Security Council to extend that prohibition on those arms sales,” he continued.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday that Washington had drafted a Security Council resolution on the issue and was “hopeful” the 15-member body will extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires. 

However, Russia and China, both parties to the JCPOA, are unlikely to allow that with their veto power. 

To circumvent the veto, the US will argue that it legally remains a “participant state” in the nuclear deal only to invoke a “snapback” that would restore the UN sanctions, which had been in place against Iran prior to the JCPOA’s inking.

This is while the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted under the agreement.

“Therefore, the Americans have nothing to say and lack any legal arguments,” Takht-Ravanchi said, adding that their measure will certainly be dismissed by the UN member states and the Security Council.

“What the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some other officials said have been rejected and have no legal standing in international law,” he noted.

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