World Says “No” to US: Maximum Pressure Campaign BackfiredParnaz Talebi
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the sanctions are re-imposed using the snapback mechanism under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
However, the US move was met by almost no consent in the international arena. At first place, majority of Security Council member states expressed opposition to Washington’s statement, underlining that the US has no right to activate the snapback mechanism as it is no longer a participant of the JCPOA. Washington pull out from the deal in 2018.
US European Allies Left Washington Alone
The UK, France and Germany, the European signatories of the JCPOA, issued a joint statement, stressing that the UN sanction relief for Iran would continue. The trio underlined their commitment to the JCPOA, emphasizing that any decision or action to re-impose sanctions against Iran "would be incapable of legal effect.”
The European Union joined the trio with a separate statement. In the statement, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, underlined that "the U.S. unilaterally ceased participation in the JCPOA by presidential Memorandum on 8 May 2018 and has subsequently not participated in any JCPOA-related activities."
"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 (UNSC) resolution 2231. Consequently, sanctions lifting commitments under the JCPOA continue to apply," the statement said.
Russia also condemned the US measure, noting that the unilateral act lacks legal authority. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the UN Security Council did not take any action that would lead to the resumption of the previous sanctions against Iran. Russia also said Washington's "illegitimate initiative and actions" could not have "international legal consequences" for others. Russia called the actions of the American side a theatrical production aimed at turning the Security Council into its own instrument of maximum pressure on Iran.
Russia's permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzia on Sunday sent a letter to the organization's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Niger's permanent representative Abdu Abarri, who chairs the Security Council in September, condemning the US move against Iran as illegitimate.
In a similar letter, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun expressed Beijing’s opposition to the U.S. unilateral announcement of restoring sanctions on Iran. Zhang said the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and is no longer a participant in the JCPOA, so it is legally groundless for the US to ask the UNSC to activate the snapback mechanism.
Zhang emphasized China is committed to upholding the validity of the JCPOA and the authoritativeness of UNSC resolutions and will continue to push forward the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also rejected the US attempt, underlining that the United Nations will not support re-imposing sanctions on Iran.
US Isolated in Maximum Pressure Campaign
The US had already suffered a defeat at the Security Council in mid-August, when it tried to extend an arms embargo on Iran, which was due to expire in October. The council resoundingly rejected the US move and Washington only managed to secure the support of the Dominican Republic.
Washington seems to be experiencing an unprecedented level of isolation in the international community, which is the result of its bullying policy and unilateralism, as the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif noted. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Washington’s campaign to pressure Tehran had backfired, underlining that “America's 'maximum pressure' against Iran, in its political and legal aspect, has turned into America's maximum isolation.”
Parnaz Talebi is a journalist and resercher. She has done her MA in North American Studies at University of Tehran.