Iranian Diplomacy – Marc Finaud, the former French Foreign Ministry spokesman, says If the UN Security Council does not agree to extend the arms embargo, the United States can always apply unilateral sanctions as it has been doing since 2018 without legal force on third countries.
Former Senior Resident Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) adds “The Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the JCPOA is, of course, open only to the current JCPOA parties.”
A senior member of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy also says that “It is indeed paradoxical that the Trump administration was critical of the JCPOA but at the same time criticized Iran for suspending its implementation.”
Following is the full text of the interview:
The United States is working to extend the issue of Iran’s arms sanction in the UN Security Council. Given that the United States has violated and withdrawn from the JCPOA, can it legally make such a request?
It is true that, by withdrawing from the JCPOA, the United States has acted against UN Security Council resolution 2231 unanimously adopted to endorse the agreement which does not contain any provision on unilateral withdrawal. That resolution provides for the lifting of the arms embargo against Iran by 2020 or 2023 depending on the category of arms and technology and if the IAEA certifies that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful. In any case, for a decision to be taken by the Security Council to extend the sanctions, all the Permanent Members must agree, and at this stage, it seems unlikely that Russia or China (and perhaps France and the United Kingdom) will join such a decision.
The United States, despite withdrawing from the UN Security Council, is set to establish itself as a participant in the JCPOA. Why is the United States looking for this?
It is indeed paradoxical that the Trump administration was critical of the JCPOA but at the same time criticized Iran for suspending its implementation. It would have been more logical for the United States to remain a party to the JCPOA and use the internal mechanisms of the agreement to raise any question about compliance.
If the United States fails to extend its arms sanction on Iran, it is likely to turn to a trigger mechanism. How can he do this legally, even if he considers himself a participant in JCPOA?
If the UN Security Council does not agree to extend the arms embargo, the United States can always apply unilateral sanctions as it has been doing since 2018 without legal force on third countries. But because of its extra-territorial jurisdiction, it has a powerful deterrent to pressure foreign companies with interests in the United States to renounce trade with Iran. The Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the JCPOA is, of course, open only to the current JCPOA parties.
Do European countries want to activate the trigger mechanism and take Iran’s case to the UN Security Council?
It is true that the E3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom) triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism to address the suspension of implementation by Iran of some provisions of the JCPOA. However, the EU High Representative, who is chairing the process, suspended it in the hope that further negotiations will allow finding a solution instead of deferring Iran to the UN Security Council. This is part of diplomacy made both of public signals and private talks to salvage the JCPOA, to which the Europeans are strongly attached.
Interview by Javad Heirannia