Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the Iranian envoy to the United Nations, issued a scathing retort to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement late on Saturday that Washington intends to reintroduce most of the UN sanctions against Tehran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) was aimed at placing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. It was signed by Iran, the US, Russia, China, the UK, Germany and France.
Noting that the United States is no longer a signatory, the Iranian diplomat argued that Washington’s claim of “snapback” sanctions under the JCPOA is “null & void.” In a tweet, he described the US’ self-declared ‘deadline’ for triggering the sanctions as “illegal & false,” noting that by acting alone Washington was “swimming against [international] currents” and risking “more isolation” on the global stage.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Takht-Ravanchi said that the US was trying to “completely ruin” the JCPOA by employing “unilateral arbitrary interpretations and pseudo-legal arguments.” The Iranian envoy expressed hope that the Security Council would block such moves, warning that Washington was “undermining the authority and credibility of the Council and the United Nations.”
Pompeo has taken a forceful stance on its insistence that the unilaterally-imposed sanctions should be recognized, warning that any nation that refuses to comply with the US on the matter will face “consequences.”
However, Washington’s NATO allies have reportedly already expressed their displeasure with the move. The UK, France, and Germany signaled their strong opposition to the sanctions in a letter to the UN Security Council.
The European signatories of the nuclear deal – Germany, France and the UK – reflected on the sanctions “snapback” earlier on Sunday. Their joint statement noted that the US had ceased to be a party to the JCPOA following its withdrawal on May 8, 2018, and that trying to trigger the return of the punitive measures doesn’t make any legal sense.
“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.
Hours before Pompeo’s announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the international community to stand up to Washington’s “bullying” tactics. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been on the rise since the Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018.