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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States’ attempt to return international sanctions on Tehran within a week is vain because Washington is not globally regarded as a party to the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Wrong again, @SecPompeo. Nothing new happens on 9/20 … US is NOT a participant,” he said in a tweet, addressing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Washington exited JCPOA two years ago and reimposed severe sanctions on Tehran. It now claims that it remains an original participant under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that enshrined the deal, and hence entitled to use a so-called snapback mechanism to return all UN sanctions on Tehran. 

The US resorted to the argument and triggered the 30-day process after the Security Council rejected its resolution to extend Iran’s arms embargo beyond its expiration date on October. 

Pompeo tweeted in late August that the UN sanctions will snap back “at midnight GMT on Sept. 20.” 

“Just READ Res.2231 … Process is not ‘simple’, automatic or snappy. But intentionally ‘complex & lengthy’,” Zarif said in his tweet, citing former national security advisor, John Bolton, who had a key role in the US “ceasing of participation” in the nuclear deal.  

He also attached excerpts from Bolton’s article wherein he clearly noted that the snapback attempt was “legally incorrect”.



Strong Opposition 

Opposition to the US move is widespread and strong. Other parties to the nuclear deal, namely Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and most of the UN Security Council have said they do not believe the US can reimpose the global sanctions.

Thirteen of the fifteen permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC have dismissed the move in separate letters.

Diplomats say few nations are likely to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran, so the US seems to be planning to enforce the restrictions with its own action. 

Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday, “We’ll do all the things we need to do to ensure that those sanctions are enforced.”

“These will be valid UN Security Council [actions] and the United States will do what it always does; it will do its share as part of its responsibilities to enable peace.”

Elliott Abrams, the US special envoy for Iran, told reporters Wednesday that all UN member states are expected to implement their responsibilities and respect their obligations to uphold the sanctions that are to be revived on Sept. 20. 

“If other nations do not follow it, I think they should be asked … whether they do not think they are weakening the structure of UN sanctions,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.  

The US has also announced that it plans to impose sanctions on those who violate a UN arms embargo on Iran, which it says will now stay in place instead of expiring in October.

Abrams said Washington could deny access to the US market to anyone who trades in weapons with Iran.

“We will have some announcements [about secondary sanctions] over the weekend and more announcements on Monday and then subsequent days next week,” he said.


Mohammad Javad Zarif Tehran US sanctions United State