Zarif: U.S. recourse to snapback mechanism has ‘no leg to stand on’

August 17, 2020 - 12:35

TEHRAN — The United States’ recourse to the dispute resolution mechanism under resolution 2231 has “no leg to stand on,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Sunday.

“@AmbJohnBolton has repeated today what he said on May 8, 2018, while National Security Advisor in the Trump administration,” Zarif wrote in his tweet.

“At least he is consistent—a trait notably absent in this US administration,” Zarif said, adding, “US recourse to Dispute Resolution Mechanism in 2231 has NO LEG TO STAND ON.”

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that Washington has no standing to invoke the nuclear agreement’s provisions.

“The agreement’s backers argue that Washington, having withdrawn from the deal, has no standing to invoke its provisions,” Bolton wrote, adding, “They’re right.”

“It’s too cute by half to say we’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t.”

Bolton also argued in a Monday tweet that Trump’s threat to invoke the snapback sanctions from “Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal”, which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 under the Trump administration, risks long-term permanent damage to the United States’ veto power in the UN Security Council.

The United States stepped up calls for the extension of a UN arms embargo on Iran since April, with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration threatening that it may seek to trigger a snapback of all sanctions on Iran if attempts to extend the arms embargo fail.

However, the resolution calling for the extension of the embargo failed to attract enough votes at the UN Security Council on Friday, in what President Hassan Rouhani described as a humiliating defeat for the United States.

Following the UN Security Council defeat, Trump vowed to trigger the snapback mechanism to unilaterally reinstate the UN sanctions on Tehran.

“We’ll be doing a snapback. You’ll be watching it next week,” he said at a news conference at his New Jersey golf club on Saturday.

Britain, France, and Germany, three European countries party to the nuclear deal, have said they would not back such U.S. efforts.

The European Union also announced on Sunday that the U.S. is not entitled to force the reimposition of international sanctions on Iran through the snapback mechanism envisioned in the 2015 nuclear deal.

According to a spokeswoman of the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, given that the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018 and has not participated in any JCPOA structures or activities subsequently, the U.S. cannot be considered as a JCPOA participant. 

“We, therefore, consider that the U.S. is not in a position to resort to mechanisms reserved for JCPOA participants (such as the so-called snapback),” German news agency DPA quoted the spokeswoman as saying.


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