E3 rejects US claims on snapback sanctions against Tehran
Three European signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement have rejected the legality of US claims over restoring the anti-Iran sanctions through the so-called snapback mechanism.
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran were "back in effect" under the “snapback” provision in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The claim came 30 days after Pompeo notified the UN Security Council (UNSC) of what he called Iran’s “significant non-performance” with its obligations under the JCPOA – from which US President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.
In a statement released on Sunday, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom said Washington is not a participant to the JCPOA and thus its notification on snapback sanctions “is incapable of having legal effect.”
“France, Germany and the United Kingdom (“the E3”) note that the US ceased to be a participant to the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the deal on 8 May, 2018. Consequently, the purported notification under paragraph 11 of UNSCR 2231 (2015), received from the United States of America and circulated to the UN Security Council Members, is incapable of having legal effect. It flows from this that any decisions and actions which would be taken based on this procedure or on its possible outcome would also be incapable of having any legal effect,” the statement read.
The European parties to the JCPOA also stressed their commitment to the UNSC Resolution 2231, which enshrined the JCPOA.
“We remain guided by the objective of upholding the authority and integrity of the United Nations Security Council. The E3 remains committed to fully implementing UNSCR 2231 (2015) by which the JCPOA was endorsed in 2015.
We have worked tirelessly to preserve the nuclear agreement and remain committed to do so,” they said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the international community will not buy into Washington’s frenetic attempt to reinstate UN sanctions, adding that US officials live in "an imaginary world."
Separately on Sunday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reiterated that the US cannot initiate the process of reimposing UN sanctions on Iran under Resolution 2231 as it is no longer a party to the JCPOA.
“As recalled in my statement of 20 August, as well as in the Chair’s statement following the JCPOA Joint Commission on 1 September 2020, the US unilaterally ceased participation in the JCPOA by presidential Memorandum on 8 May 2018 and has subsequently not participated in any JCPOA-related activities,” he said “It cannot, therefore, be considered to be a JCPOA participant State and cannot initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under the UN Security Council resolution 2231. Consequently, sanctions lifting commitments under the JCPOA continue to apply,” he added.
Borrell further described the JCPOA as “a key pillar of the global non-proliferation architecture, contributing to regional and global security.”
“As coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission I will continue to do everything possible to ensure the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA by all.