Continuation of arms embargo to kill JCPOA: top security official

May 4, 2020 - 15:15

TEHRAN — Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), has said continuation of the illegal arms embargo on Iran will kill the nuclear agreement Tehran signed with six world powers in July 2015.

“#JCPOA will die forever by circumventing 2231 Resolution & continuing #Iran's illegal weapons sanctions,” Shamkhani wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday morning.

“Sanctions' virus is the US tool for survival of its declining hegemony,” he said. “What will #EU do: Save dignity & support multilateralism or Accept humiliation & help unilateralism?”

Washington has called on the United Nations Security Council to extend its arms embargo on Iran.

Citing the Islamic Republic’s recent satellite launch, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement last week that Tehran should not be allowed to buy and sell conventional weapons.

On April 22, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully launched Iran’s first military satellite into the orbit.

The military satellite, dubbed Noor 1 [Light 1], was launched upon Ghased (Messenger) satellite carrier in the early hours of April 22 from a location in the central desert of Iran.

Pompeo pointed to the announcement, claiming it showed that Iran’s space program was in fact “neither peaceful nor entirely civilian”.

Under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. abandoned in May 2018, the UN ban on weapons sales to Tehran will end in October 2020.

In December 2019, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran intends to stay in the nuclear deal despite the U.S. actions, arguing that the internationally-endorsed pact will be put to good use in 2020 when the arms embargo comes to an end.

However, U.S. officials and UN diplomats said on Tuesday that the U.S. has circulated a draft UN resolution that would indefinitely extend the arms embargo.

The officials said since Iran is admittedly no longer complying with several elements of the nuclear deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Trump administration believes it has a case to make that the embargo should not be lifted.

Although the administration pulled out from the deal two years ago, the U.S. maintains that it retains the right to invoke a sanctions snapback that the deal envisaged in the event of “significant non-performance” by Iran.

That position rests on a novel State Department legal argument that was first presented in December and asserts that although the U.S. is no longer in the nuclear deal, it remains an original “participant” under the terms of the Security Council resolution that enshrined it.

Kourosh Ahmadi, an international law expert, has said the United States’ legal argument that it remains an original “participant” under the terms of the Security Council resolution “lacks any legal logic”.

In an article published in the Etemad newspaper on Wednesday, Ahmadi said hardline senators such as Ted Cruz are pushing the Trump administration to take a tough stance in this regard.

“Their goal, which is approved and supported by hardline elements in Trump’s team, is to revive all anti-Iran UN Security Council resolutions by highlighting the dangers of lifting the arms embargo on Iran, and hence totally destroy the JCPOA,” he remarked.

“While their immediate goal is to prevent the lifting of the arms embargo on Iran, but given the U.S. presidential elections in November, they wish to minimize the possibility of a JCPOA revival in the event of Trump’s defeat,” he opined.

Among many others, former Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has also dismissed the argument, saying such an argument by the Trump administration, which has abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, “makes no sense”.

“The international prohibition on weapons going to/from Iran ends in October. To extend this arms embargo, the Trump admin is suddenly arguing that the US is a party to the same Iran Deal it abandoned. That makes no sense. Make up your mind, @SecPompeo,” Warren tweeted on Wednesday.


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