E3 Calls on UNSC to continue Iran sanctions relief despite US demand
Britain, France and Germany have told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that the sanctions relief provided by the world body for Iran – agreed under a 2015 nuclear deal – will continue beyond September 20 in outright rejection of assertions by the United States that the bans will snap back then.
In 2015, Iran clinched a landmark nuclear deal with a group of countries then known as the P5+1 — Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.
However, US President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally pulled his country out of the deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - and re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
On August 20, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington formally triggered a 30-day process at the UNSC leading to a return of virtually all the UN sanctions on Iran on September 20.
He cited what he claimed to be Iranian violations of the JCPOA, to which the US is no longer a party.
On Friday, the permanent representatives of the UK, Germany and France said in a joint letter to the 15-member UNSC that any decision or action taken to restore the UN sanctions “would be incapable of legal effect.”
“In this letter, we expressed our shared view that the purported notification under paragraph 11 of UNSCR 2231 (2015) received from the United States of America and circulated to the UN Security Council Members is incapable of having legal effect and so cannot bring into effect the procedure foreseen under OP 11. It flows from this that any decision and actions which would be taken based on this procedure or on its possible outcome would also be incapable of having any effect,” read part of the joint letter by the UN envoys of the three European countries, known as E3.
The E3 further said that they had “worked tirelessly to preserve the nuclear agreement and remain committed to do so.” They also stressed they would remain committed to “fully implementing” a 2015 Security Council resolution that endorses the JCPOA.
Earlier on Friday, the E3 in a joint statement hailed Tehran’s encouraging statements on its intention to further strengthen its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The trio’s joint statement, which had been issued on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Agreement with Iran, was delivered to the IAEA Board of Governors at the September 2020 meeting.
On Thursday, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations Kazem Gharibabadi said Iran has the most transparent nuclear program among the IAEA member states, as proven through numerous inspections of the country’s nuclear sites by the UN agency.
“The fact that 22 percent of all global inspections done by the IAEA has been carried out in Iran proves that Iran enjoys the most transparent peaceful nuclear program among the member states of the agency,” Gharibabadi added, in an address to the IAEA Board of Governors.
On August 14, the UNSC rejected a US-drafted resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October under the JCPOA.