‘US can’t initiate process of reinstating UN sanctions on Iran’

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has denied the unilateral announcement made by the US that all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran had been restored.

In a statement on Sunday, Borrell said the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and therefore “cannot initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under the UN Security Council resolution 2231”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Consequently, sanctions lifting commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) continue to apply,” he said.

As coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, Borrell pledged to continue to ensure the preservation and full implementation of the deal by Iran and other participants.

He regarded the deal as a key pillar of the global non-proliferation architecture, and called on all parties to preserve the agreement and refrain from “action that could be perceived as an escalation in the current situation”.

In the announcement on Saturday night, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions against Iran were being re-imposed according to the “snapback” mechanism under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA.

Pompeo also threatened consequences if other countries fail to implement the sanctions.

“The US is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity.”

He added that additional measures to “strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable” would be announced in the coming days.

The comprehensive nuclear deal was inked by Iran in July 2015 with the UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, together with the EU.

The US withdrew from it on May 8, 2018, and unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Tehran, despite objections from the international community.

On August 20, the US had unilaterally invoked the “snapback” after its failed and isolated attempt in the Security Council to extend the arms embargo against Tehran that expires on October 18.