0705 GMT October 31, 2020
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the US officials to stop dreaming about becoming a participant to the Iran nuclear deal again.
Zarif made the comments in a Twitter post on Monday after a report by the New York Times said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument claiming that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced.
“2 yrs ago, @SecPompeo and his boss declared "CEASING US participation" in JCPOA, dreaming that their "max pressure" would bring Iran to its knees. Given that policy's abject failure, he now wants to be JCPOA participant. Stop dreaming: Iranian Nation always decides its destiny”, Zarif twitted.
Pompeo has recently stepped up its efforts to make the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran, the Times reported. “It is part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country.”
The US strategy has been described in recent days by administration officials as they begin to circulate a new resolution in the Security Council that would bar countries from exporting conventional arms to Iran after the current ban expires in October.
Any effort to renew the arms embargo is almost certain to be opposed by Russia and, publicly or quietly, by China. The Russians have already told American and European officials they are eager to resume conventional arms sales to Iran,
In an effort to force the issue, Pompeo has approved a plan, bound to be opposed by many of Washington’s European allies, under which the United States would, in essence, claim it legally remains a “participant state” in the nuclear accord that Trump has denounced – but only for the purposes of invoking a “snapback” that would restore the UN sanctions on Iran that were in place before the accord.
If the arms embargo is not renewed, the United States would exercise that right as an original member of the agreement. That step would force a restoration of the wide array of the sanctions that prohibited oil sales and banking arrangements before the adoption of the agreement in 2015. Enforcing those older sanctions would, in theory, be binding on all members of the United Nations.
European diplomats who have learned of the effort maintain that Trump and Pompeo are selectively choosing whether they are still in the agreement to fit their agenda, according to the New York-based publication.
The entire drama could play out this autumn in the weeks before the presidential election, setting up a potential confrontation with Iran in the midst of the contest.
Political calculations aside, the administration’s larger plan may go beyond imposing harsher sanctions on Iran. It is also to urge Tehran to give up preserving the Obama-era agreement and negotiate a new agreement more to Trump’s liking.
Iran has resisted even opening talks with the Trump administration, saying that before it would sit down Trump to amend the previous agreement, the United States would have to re-enter the accord and fully abide by its terms. Trump has refused.
The intricate strategy has been described by senior administration officials involved in devising it. Asked about it, Pompeo said in a statement to The New York Times: “We cannot allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to purchase conventional weapons in six months. President Obama should never have agreed to end the UN arms embargo.”
“We are prepared to exercise all of our diplomatic options to ensure the arms embargo stays in place at the UN Security Council,” he added.
The arms embargo – along with limits on missile launches – was part of a United Nations Security Council resolution that enshrined the nuclear accord, and suspended years of UN-imposed sanctions. That is what begins to expire in October.
US economic terrorism
On April 19, Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi said the US call on the world body to extend the arms embargo on Tehran is yet another attempt by Washington to divert attention from its economic terrorism, according to Press TV.
“Yet another attempt by US to distract from its continued #EconomicTerrorism on the Iranian people: this time, US is calling on #UNSC to violate its very resolution 2231, and continue arms restrictions on Iran,” he tweeted. “But US will not succeed in wooing others to violate int'l law.”
A day earlier, Pompeo had urged the UN Security Council to prolong the arms embargo on Iran, claiming that lifting the embargo may give rise to violence in the Middle East.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 international nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, from which Washington unilaterally withdraw in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Under the resolution, the UN arms embargo on Iran – in place since 2006/2007– will be lifted in October 2020, five years after the nuclear deal took effect.
The US has repeatedly expressed its anger at the possible termination of restrictions on Iran's import and export of arms.