UNSC rejects US demand for snapback sanctions against Iran

The admissibility of the notice submitted by Pompeo last week was questioned by 13 out of 15 members of the UNSC. Even US allies have pointed out that having left the deal in 2018, it cannot ask for sanctions

August 26, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Credit : The Islamic Republic News Agency

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, August 25, formally rejected the US demand for snapback sanctions against Iran. Dian Triansyah Djani, Indonesia’s ambassador to the UN and current security council chair, replying to a question put by Russia and China during a meeting on the Middle East, said the council “was not in a position to take further action” on the petition filed by the US.

Last week, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo had submitted a formal notification asking the UNSC to restore all international sanctions against Iran which were lifted after the security council had ratified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also called the Iran nuclear deal, in its resolution 2231 of 2015.

The US claims that Iran has violated the provisions of the deal and as a participant of the deal it has the right to ask for snapback sanctions against Iran as per the UNSC resolution and the provisions of the JCPOA.  

Iran, the EU members of the deal (France, Germany and the UK), China and Russia have already rejected the American claim to be identified as a participant of the deal. 13 of 15 members of the UNSC, argued that the US withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and hence had no right to ask for snapback as it was no longer a participant.   

As per the UNSC resolution 2231, if any participant of the deal files a complaint regarding a possible violation by Iran and the Security Council fails to pass a resolution to continue the exemptions within 30 days of the filing of the complaint, the sanctions will automatically be restored.

Reacting to the UNSC rejection, US ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft alleged that members of the UNSC are standing with “terrorists.” Russian ambassador Vassiley Nebenzia asked the US to move on and drop its plan to impose snapback sanctions against Iran because such an attempt is illegal.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif advised president Donald Trump to stop listening to “novices and bullies” in a tweet after the UNSC rejection.

The US had threatened the snapback against Iran after a humiliating diplomatic setback in the UNSC earlier this month in which apart from Dominican Republic no other country supported its proposal to indefinitely extend the arms embargo against Iran.

The Donald Trump administration had withdrawn from the JCPOA signed by his predecessor Barack Obama calling it the “worst deal ever.” It has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran under its so-called “maximum pressure” policy with the objective of forcing Iran to renegotiate the deal and change its regional policies. Iran has refused to renegotiate the deal calling the Trump administration untrustworthy.