UNSC facing ‘Grave Test’; rule of ‘law’ or ‘jungle’?

MNA | Zahra Mirzafarjouyan: The US Secretary of State’s anti-Iranian claims at a UN Security Council meeting were opposed by various parties, including its allies.

The Meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was held on Tuesday virtually to mull over the periodical report of the UN secretary general on the implementation of UNSCR 2231, related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.

Alongside with the speech of permanent and non-permanent members, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also addressed the meeting.

In recent weeks, Washington has ramped up efforts to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which is due to end this October. US has reportedly started lobbying for this aim and has claimed that it can trigger a snapback mechanism that will return UN sanctions against Iran.

Tehran has strongly condemned US efforts, noting that the US is no longer a participant to the JCPOA since its illegal withdrawal from the deal and hence, cannot start the mechanism.

Slamming the efforts of the United States to extend UN arms embargo against Iran which is due to expire in October in Separate letters, Russian FM and Chinese senior diplomat have started building a case at the United Nations against Washington’s claim that it can trigger a return of all sanctions on Iran at the Security Council.

US appeal to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran fell flat at UN Security Council
US appeal to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

“Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date,” Pompeo claimed in the Security Council meeting, adding, “Imagine if Iranian activity were not sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions are lifted.”

“Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan,” he added.

Reacting to the US illegal demand, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Zhang Jun said, “China opposes the US push for extending the UN arms embargo on Iran.”

“The full implementation of JCPOA for nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and realization of peace and stability in the Middle East is crucial,” he added.

China opposed US push for extending the UN arms embargo on Iran
“The root cause of the current crisis is the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran,” said Zhang Jun.

“We urge the United States to stop its illegal unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and Resolution 2231,” he noted.

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya also criticized the US Secretary of State’s anti-Iranian statement at a Security Council meeting.

“US policy of imposing unilateral sanctions seems to ignore other countries. We are concerned about developments in the policy of maximum pressure against Iran which can better be termed as maximum suffocation,” he noted.

Russia criticized US for anti-Iranian statement at UNSC
“Iran is under pressure from all sides. The goal is to change the ruling system or create a situation in which Iran is literally unable to breathe. It’s like putting your knee on someone’s neck. This crisis has been caused by the United States,” he added.

He also expressed Russia’s opposition to US efforts to extend Iran arms embargo.

Nebenzya further criticized the ninth report of the UN Secretary-General regarding the implementation of Resolution 2231.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, told the Security Council that the 2015 agreement – which the Council endorsed through resolution 2231 – remains crucial to the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and to regional and international security.

“It is therefore regrettable that the future of this agreement is in doubt”, she said, pointing to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018, the re-imposition of US sanctions and Washington’s decision not to extend waivers for oil trading with Iran.

Britain, France and Germany voiced unease at US approach
Representatives of Britain, France and Germany voiced unease at both the expiration of the embargo and the American approach, particularly the snapback, which they flatly opposed.

The German representative, Christoph Heusgen said he endorsed the view that Washington had no standing to invoke UN sanctions.

“It is very unfortunate that the United States left the JCPOA, and by doing this actually violated international law,” he said.

After him, the British envoy also noted that in his view, the automatic return of sanctions against Iran is inconsistent with JCPOA.

France’s permanent representative, like Britain and Germany, opposed the US effort to return international sanctions against Iran.

European parties to the nuclear treaty also said that they would not back US efforts to unilaterally trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed claims of Iranian aggression based on what he called “self-serving allegations and forged documents,” adding that it was the United States that “has directly undermined global peace and security.”

He urged the UN Security Council to adhere to the “rule of law” in making its decision on Iran’s nuclear deal, stressing that if this Council falters again, it will be a generational setback for the cause of multilateralism and the rule of law.

Zarif: UNSC facing important test, respect for rule of ‘law’ or return to rule of ‘jungle’?
“The int’l community in general – and UN Security Council in particular – face an important decision: Do we maintain respect for rule of law, or do we return to law of the jungle?” Zarif tweeted after making his virtual address to the UNSC meeting on Tuesday.

Yesterday, we witnessed the isolation of the United States in the virtual session of the Security Council, and that the members of the Council opposed the US appeal to extend Iran’s arms embargo.

In fact, the UNSC was the scene of isolation of the US but over the past years, we have been witnessing that some countries particularly the Europeans have succumbed to US threats and pressures. Now, we should wait and see whether the international community will respect the ‘rule of law’ or will act at the request of the United States to extend the arms embargo on Iran and will return to the law of the jungle?!