US’ bid to trigger snapback mechanism unlawful: Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed attempts by the US to invoke the “snapback” mechanism, seeking to restore all the pre-2015 UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, saying it was “unlawful”.

“All parties to the JCPOA, the Security Council member states and international jurists all share the view that the US is no longer a party to the deal, and Washington’s move has no basis as per the Security Council Resolution 2231 and the agreement,” Xinhua news agency quoted Zarif as saying in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday.

JCPOA refers to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is commonly known as the Iranian nuclear deal signed in 2015.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in May 2018, triggering a tense standoff with Iran.

In the phone call on Thursday, Zarif said that the latest US move will have “dangerous consequences” for the international law, and will result in nothing but damaging international mechanisms and discrediting the UN Security Council.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran expects the Secretary General and the Security Council member states to fulfil their legal duties and counter the US administration’s rogue behaviour,” he said.

Zarif’s remarks came a day after Trump said on Wednesday that he was “directing the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to notify the UN Security Council that the US intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended UN sanctions on Iran”.

In a statement, the State Department said that Pompeo travelled to New York City on Thursday and Friday to notify the UN Security Council that the US would initiate the process to restore UN sanctions on Iran.

The US move came after its draft resolution failed to get the required nine votes in favour at the UN Security Council on August 14 to extend the arms embargo against Iran.

Besides the US, only the Dominican Republic voted in favour of the draft.

China and Russia voted against the text, and the remaining 11 Security Council members, including the European allies of the US, abstained.

Under Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, the arms embargo against Iran is set to expire on October 18.

Tehran said it would not accept a renewal of the embargo.