Zarif lambasts UN for inaction in face of U.S.-E3 blackmail

July 30, 2021 - 21:47

TEHRAN — Six days prior to the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President-elect Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a letter by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the secretary-general of the United Nations.

In the letter, written on July 20, Zarif reminded the UN that Iran was fulfilling its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it was the United States which ill-intentionally put economic pressure on Iran by abrogating the agreement. 

In part of his letter, Zarif also said the U.S. and E3 (Britain, France and Germany) have been “transparent about their transgressions and have repeatedly stated their ill-intention to compel Iran to renegotiate” the provisions of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA. 

Below you will find some highlights from Zarif’s letter to Antonio Guterres:

“Six years ago today (July 20), the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2231 (2015). In spite of our strong and legitimate objections to the historic mistreatment of Iran by the Security Council—particularly throughout 8 years of aggression by Saddam Hussein, as well as during the course of an unnecessary nuclear crisis—Iran showed its good faith by engaging in negotiations to reach a diplomatic solution to the nuclear question. After thirteen years of complex negotiations, in 2015 Iran and the five permanent members of this Council plus Germany concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is endorsed by and annexed to Resolution 2231.

The Security Council in its Resolution 2231 has affirmed “that conclusion of the JCPOA marks a fundamental shift in its consideration of this issue…”1 The purported over-arching purpose of all terminated resolutions of the UN Security Council on the Iranian nuclear issue was to reach “a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran’s nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes.”2 That “diplomatic, negotiated solution” was reached, in a final and comprehensive manner, in the form of the JCPOA3, endorsed by UNSCR 22311. Iran implemented the JCPOA fully and in good faith2; it provided the IAEA with all the access it needed under the JCPOA and implemented the Additional Protocol; and all outstanding issues of the past were resolved to the satisfaction of the IAEA Board of Governors3. Indeed, as much as the deal fell short of providing Iran with the benefits of sanctions lifting due to—as will be shown in the following paragraphs—mala fide and insincerity on the part of the United States and lack of will and aptitude on the part of the EU/E3, it proved to be a solid solution in meeting concerns claimed in terminated UNSC resolutions, thus rendering them not just terminated but factually and legally obsolete.

UN Security Council Resolution 2231 also emphasizes “that the JCPOA is conducive to promoting and facilitating the development of normal economic and trade contacts and cooperation with Iran…”4 and that Member States must “give due regard to the termination” of sanctions. The JCPOA participants have underlined that “the lifting of sanctions, including the economic dividends arising from it, constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA.”5

However, the United States—aided and abetted by its European accomplices—never implemented these and many other provisions of Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA in good faith. The western JCPOA participants continued to use economic pressure to achieve those illegitimate political objectives that they had failed to achieve in the course of the long and tedious JCPOA negotiations: the same objectives that they had finally agreed to address and dispose of in a way that was not fully satisfactory to any of the JCPOA participants, including—and especially—Iran. Indeed, Iran clearly stated its positions in the Security Council meeting on 20 July 20156 and immediately after the adoption of the Resolution7. However, it fulfilled all its JCPOA commitments in good faith, verified by numerous IAEA reports1—even 15 months after the U.S. unlawful withdrawal2.

The US and E3 have been transparent about their transgressions and have repeatedly stated their ill-intention to compel Iran to renegotiate those provisions through economic pressure and blackmail. Such intentions—which in and of themselves constitute a grave violation of Paragraphs 28 and 29 of the JCPOA3— were uttered privately—and even publicly—after the “Implementation Day”4, and repeated by former US president Trump5—and regrettably the E36—since 2017. The Biden administration—again, aided and abetted by the E3—has since its inauguration in January 2021 continued Trump’s economic terrorism against Iranians as supposed “leverage” to achieve the same objectives.

The US and E3 illusion that there can ever be a renegotiation of the timetable enshrined in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 represents utter bad faith. The timetable for termination of voluntary restrictions accepted by Iran in the JCPOA—maliciously called “JCPOA sunset clauses,” in order to evoke fear— were the subject of the longest and most difficult negotiating process—which began from the very first day of the Muscat discussions in August 2012, and continued until the evening of July 13, 2015. Agreement on the current timetable required great flexibility and compromise on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and huge sacrifices by Iran on other significant issues.

Obviously, no one was fully satisfied with the agreed timetable—certainly not Iran, which rightly believed that there was no reason for any restriction on its nuclear program, because in its view, the so-called nuclear crisis had been artificially manufactured from the start. Iran moved from zero limitations to the current time-bound restrictions, and the U.S. and E3 in return abandoned their desire for longer timeframes. However, after Trump withdrew from the deal, the U.S. and E3 believed that they could reap the fruits of their poisonous tree and resume their old habit of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”

It should not be forgotten today that to show the pivotal importance of the agreed timeframe, the Resolution in its first operative paragraph “Endorses the JCPOA, and urges its full implementation on the timetable established in the JCPOA.” Thus, the timetable—or the so-called “sunset clauses”—is an inseparable, non-negotiable component of the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. Thus, any attempt to extort an extension of the agreed timetable undermines both the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 in their entirety.”


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