Only JCPOA participants are able to initiate ‘snapback process’: German FM

October 4, 2020 - 18:48

TEHRAN – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has rejected the U.S. move to initiate the so-called snapback of sanctions on Iran, saying only participants to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are able to initiate the process.

“Our position on snapback is very clear: Only JCPOA participants may notify the UN Security Council of significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA by Iran,” Maas told the New Arab in an interview published on Sunday. 

“The U.S. left the agreement in 2018 and therefore no longer has a right to initiate the process called ‘snapback’,” the German foreign minister said.

He also mentioned the new sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran and expressed Germany’s view in that regard. “We also decided not to join its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign.”

EU sanctions against Iran remain lifted to the extent required under the JCPOA, the Germany foreign minister said, adding that this also means that the EU arms embargo remains in force until 2023.

In July 2015, Iran signed the JCPOA with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the European Union. The deal required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for termination of sanctions, including lifting the arms embargo five years after the deal’s adoption. 

In May 2018, however, the United States unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA and implemented hardline policies against Tehran, which Washington has described as the “maximum pressure” policy.

Iran waited an entire year for the other parties to the deal, especially the three European countries, to protect its interests under the historic accord. But after they failed to do so, Tehran began to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA.

On January 5, Iran took a fifth and last step in reducing its commitments and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development. However, Iran has insisted if the Europeans honor their obligations it will immediately reverse its decisions.

During the interview, Maas said Germany, France and the United Kingdom remain committed to preserving and fully implementing the JCPOA.

He also urged Iran to refrain from any further JCPOA violations, saying, “On the contrary, Iran should take concrete practical steps towards full compliance with its nuclear commitments.”


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