By Hossein Yari

Role of American Democrats in breaching JCPOA

June 12, 2018

TEHRAN - During the United States presidential competitions in 2016, Donald Trump threatened to rip up Iran's nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on his first day at the White House. Besides, over the months prior to the conclusion of the nuclear deal, many Republicans had emphasized that the next president of the United States (after Obama) could break the nuclear deal with a "turn of the pen".

 Although signing the nuclear deal in July of 2015 and after the conclusion of UN Security Council resolution 2231, apparently guaranteed the legal value of the JCPOA, but at the same time many critics warned of the consequences that may follow the presence of an anti-JCPOA president in the United States.

The implementation of the "trigger mechanism" for the JCPOA has been further reinforcing this concern, which, contrary to the claims made about "the legal strength of the JCPOA" this agreement was actually a variable of the frowns and smiles of the permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States.

 It was obvious that the trigger mechanism was there merely to serve the interests of the United States in accordance with the nuclear deal, and providing the opportunity for the American authorities to resume the sanctions against Iran. It should not be forgotten that the inclusion of the trigger mechanism in the JCPOA has been carried out by John Kerry, Barack Obama and the American Democrats; those who are now attempting to prevent the breach of the nuclear deal by Trump!
A review of paragraphs 11 and 12 of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231(2015) indicates that Donald Trump intends to use the capacities included in the resolution to pull out of the nuclear deal.

In paragraph 11 of resolution 2231, we read: "Decides, acting under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, that, within 30 days of receiving a notification by a JCPOA participant State of an issue that the JCPOA participant State believes constitutes significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA, it shall vote on a draft resolution to continue in effect the terminations in paragraph 7 (a) of this resolution,…"

Also in paragraph 12 of this resolution, it has been affirmed that:  " Decides, acting under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, that, if the Security Council does not adopt a resolution under paragraph 11 to continue in effect the terminations in paragraph 7 (a), then effective midnight Greenwich Mean Time after the thirtieth day after the notification to the Security Council described in paragraph 11, all of the provisions of resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), and 1929 (2010) that have been terminated pursuant to paragraph 7 (a) shall apply in the same manner as they applied before the adoption of this resolution,…"

But this is not the end of the story! The Obama's administration approved a domestic law which was in contradiction with the nuclear deal and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231(2015). According to this new law, the suspension of the sanctions against Iran was to be depended on the confirmation of the White House and the U.S. President. Consequently, the suspension of sanctions against Iran needs to be renewed every 120 days, and this renewal calls for the signature of the President of the United States! In other words, this domestic law turned the president of the United States to the main player.

 When Barack Obama was at top of U.S. political and executive equations, he signed and reaffirmed the suspension of sanctions on Iran several times, but when Donald Trump was able to win Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, the equation has utterly changed. From the beginning of 2017, Trump tried to make use of the trigger mechanism and the U.S. domestic law (which requires the U.S. president's permit for the suspension of sanctions) to withdraw from the JCPOA.

 It may be argued that due to the cooperation of Washington and the European troika and under the circumstances that was totally affection the negotiation's atmosphere at the time, it wasn't possible to remove the trigger mechanism in Security Council resolution 223192015). But the main question here is whether the Islamic Republic of Iran could not stress on the "temporary confirmation of the U.S. president for the removal of sanctions", and introduce it as a violation of the common goals of the international community.

The fact is that from the beginning, silence and passivity against the U.S. government's decision to tie up the fate of the JCPOA to the White House permit was not acceptable. In other words, a simple prediction could highlight the danger that was awaiting the nuclear deal with the presence of the U.S. president at the White House. It was clear that a president who is opposed to the JCPOA for any reasons, would be capable to use such an option to eliminate the nuclear deal and choose not to extend the suspension of sanctions against our country. The important thing here is that many domestic and international experts and analysts have warned about this during the nuclear talks.

It should not be forgotten that today, Donald Trump is violating the JCPOA and walking out of the nuclear deal by the help of people like Barack Obama and John Kerry; those who ironically claim to be supporters of the deal. Obviously, in the face of such a violation by the United States, we should also use our domestic capacities in the Iranian parliament, the Supreme National Security Council, etc. to stand against the U.S. tricks. In other words, it is entirely permissible for us to use a leverage called the "internal laws of our country" to confront the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA.

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