Trump’s sanctions against Iran are a clear breach of international law

The Guardian | Gholamali Khoshroo: For the first time in the history of the UN, the United States – a permanent member of the security council with veto power – is engaging in penalising nations across the entire world; not for violating a security council resolution, rather, for abiding by it. The resolution in question, UN security council resolution 2231, was authored (including by the US itself) and passed unanimously by the council.

After more than a year of holding the joint comprehensive plan of action(JCPOA – known also as the Iran deal) to ransom and demanding Iran make a spade of unilateral nuclear and non-nuclear concessions, ultimately, on 8 May 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA. Simultaneously, Trump signed a presidential memorandum to reimpose all US sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the Iran deal. As a result, the agreement that was the culmination of more than a decade of negotiations and was endorsed by security council resolution 2231 now faces an existential moment, especially as the first set of US sanctions come into effect this week.

Security council resolution 2231 underlines “promoting and facilitating the development of normal economic and trade contacts and cooperation with Iran” as an essential part of the JCPOA and calls upon all member states to support its implementation, including to ensure Iran’s access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy, and refrain from actions that undermine it. As part of the JCPOA itself, the US alongside other JCPOA participants, undertook to refrain from any policy intended to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran. The Trump administration is nonetheless now targeting countries across the world for actually re-engaging Iran economically in accordance with their obligations under security council resolution 2231.

The US withdrawal from JCPOA and reimposition of its sanctions is a serious breach of its legal obligations under the UN charter, which entails its international responsibility. The international community must act in the face of this international intimidation and affront towards the international legal order.

 

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