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Tehran, Brussels reject Donald Trump’s ‘snapback’ plan for Iran sanctions

Tehran, Brussels reject Donald Trump’s ‘snapback’ plan for Iran sanctions
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran and the European Union have both rejected United States President Donald Trump’s plan to trigger the “snapback” mechanism in the Iranian nuclear deal to impose sanctions on Iran.

“The Americans got out of the atomic deal in May 2018 and they know very well that the implementation of the snapback is something illegal and, therefore, absolutely unacceptable,’’ Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Sunday, according to state media.

The snapback was granted to the participants in the 2015 Vienna nuclear agreement between major world powers and Iran in the event that Tehran violates it.

However, under Trump, the United States withdrew unilaterally from the agreement in 2018.

“Since Washington withdrew from the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it could not be considered a part of it,’’ a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Sunday.

“Given that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and has not participated in any JCPOA structures or activities subsequently, the United States cannot be considered as a JCPOA participant.

“We, therefore, consider that the United States is not in a position to resort to mechanisms reserved for JCPOA participants (such as the so-called snapback).’’

Iran earlier accused Trump of endangering the current world order with his threats of the deal.

“All countries should show solidarity in order to defend the reputation of the UN,’’ Diako Hosseini, Political Advisor in the Tehran presidential office, tweeted on Sunday.

The nuclear agreement is intended to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but it grants the Islamic Republic an internationally monitored civilian nuclear power programme.

In the course of the agreement adopted by the UN, the dismantling of sanctions against Iran was also regulated.

An arms embargo that is part of the deal is due to expire in October.

The United States wants an extension of the embargo, but it failed to push this through in the UN Security Council.

Now Trump wants to force the reinstatement of all international sanctions on Iran against the will of the other members of the UN Security Council via a mechanism known as a snapback.

“We’ll be doing a snapback,’’ Trump told reporters on Saturday at a press conference in New Jersey.

“You’ll be watching it next week.’’

“Just as his attempt to halt the lifting of the arms embargo failed in the UN Security Council, this snapback plan will have the same fate,’’ Iranian presidential office chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, tweeted in a swift reaction on Sunday.

In Tehran, it is also suspected that Trump is trying to cover up his domestic political problems with a new foreign policy crisis and thus increase his chances of being re-elected in November.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry later said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken by telephone to discuss the possibility of a summit on the nuclear deal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had on Friday called for leaders involved in the original nuclear deal, including Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, to organise a video summit.

Trump later said he did not want to join a summit, saying he would wait until after the United States election.

Following Sunday’s phone call, Lavrov again stressed the importance of the nuclear agreement with Iran as an important “political and diplomatic achievement”.

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