Friday, 12 June, 2020

Top EU diplomat: EU: US no longer party to Iran deal, can’t invoke JCPOA

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says the US has already pulled out of an international 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran and major world powers and cannot currently use its former membership of the deal to seek a permanent arms embargo on Tehran.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday, the EU’s top diplomat said that the US can no longer claim to have a role in the nuclear deal — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)— since it has withdrawn from the pact.

“The United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, and now they cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement. They withdraw. It’s clear. They withdraw,” Borrell said.

The EU believes that the JCPOA plays a key role in maintaining regional and international security and has made efforts to keep the pact alive despite US pressure.

Borrell is tasked with supervising the circumstances surrounding the implementation of the nuclear deal so he can help resolve disputes between its signatories.

The landmark nuclear deal had been reached between Iran and the P5+1 group — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany — in 2015. However, in May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and later re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran and began unleashing the “toughest ever” fresh sanctions.

Although the US is not a party to the JCPOA any more, it has recently launched a campaign to renew the Iran arms ban — in place since 2006/2007 — through a resolution at the Security Council. Russia and China are against the push, and most likely to veto it.

To circumvent the veto, the US says it will argue that it legally remains a “participant state” in the nuclear pact only to trigger the snapback that would restore the UN sanctions, which had been in place against Iran prior to the JCPOA inking.

Tehran says Washington, through its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, has forfeited all rights to have a say in the agreement.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council circulated on Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the administration of President Trump is pursuing a politically motivated campaign against Iran, calling for “universal condemnation” of Washington’s attempts to get the UN Security Council to impose a permanent arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.

Lavrov said the US withdrew from the JCPOA and now has no legal right to try to use the UN Resolution 2231, which endorses the deal, to indefinitely continue the arms embargo against Tehran.

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