US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that UN sanctions against Iran are back in effect. We are talking about the restrictions that were in force before the nuclear deal concluded in 2015: among them – the arms embargo, the ban on the development of ballistic missiles, and much more. There is only one oddity in Pompeo’s statement: the UN did not restore sanctions.
On Fox News, Pompeo said that “the world will be safer” after the restoration of the sanctions regime. “The Iranians will not have the opportunity to acquire Russian air defense systems, Chinese tanks, and everything that threatens peace and stability in the Middle East,” DW quoted him as saying. He also promised the introduction of restrictions against states that violate the sanctions regime – in particular, the conversation dealt with Russia and China.
Pompeo stressed that the sanctions have been restored in accordance with the organization’s procedures, and the United States expects the member states of the UN Security Council to comply with their obligations. The first part of this statement surprised many.
US President Donald Trump announced his intention to return the sanctions on August 19, a month ago. Pompeo then referred a complaint about Iran’s failure to comply with the terms of the sanctions to the UN Security Council chairman. After 30 days, the sanctions restoration mechanism envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 comes into force. It was she who in 2015 ratified the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres notes in his message on the topic, most members of the Security Council did not consider Pompeo’s letter to be a necessary notification to launch the mechanism.
“The majority of the members of the Security Council wrote to the President of the Council that the letter was not a notification within the meaning of paragraph 11 of resolution 2231. The President of the Security Council in August and the President of the Security Council in September indicated that they were not in a position to take any action on this matter,” as per the statement with The Eastern Herald. His official position is this: it is unclear whether the process of restoring the sanctions has actually begun.
In Europe, however, the position is unambiguous: there is no talk of restoring sanctions because the United States does not have the legal authority to use paragraph 11. After all, the corresponding decision must be made within the framework of the JCPOA, and the United States withdrew from the deal back in 2018.
“They, the United States, cannot be considered a party to the JCPOA and cannot initiate the process of restoring UN sanctions in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2231. In this regard, the obligations to lift sanctions in accordance with the JCPOA continue to apply,” the EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borel. Earlier, the US demands for the renewal of sanctions were rejected by the European “big three” – Great Britain, Germany, and France; according to DW, most members of the UN Security Council agree with their position.
For some time the points of view of Europe and Russia converged. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement also notes that Washington lost the right to initiate processes within the nuclear deal after leaving the JCPOA. “To assert now that sanctions resolutions against Iran have been restored is wishful thinking. We hope that our American colleagues will have the courage to finally face the truth and stop speaking on behalf of the UN Security Council. The illegal initiatives and actions of the United States, by definition, cannot have international legal consequences for other countries and lead to the emergence of obligations to limit their legitimate cooperation with Iran, ”the ministry stressed.
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