Trump achieved nothing by pressuring Iran, says professor

Tehran Times – An Iranian university professor says U.S. President Donald Trump has achieved nothing by putting pressure on Iran.

In an interview with IRNA published on Tuesday, Mahdi Nourbakhsh said Trump has no foreign policy achievement to present to the American public in the upcoming presidential elections.

Pointing to the U.S. failure in the United Nations to reimpose international sanctions on Iran, Nourbakhsh said the U.S. will need nine votes in favor if it wants to hold a UN Security Council emergency meeting and approve an anti-Iran resolution.

“But, the U.S. does not have those votes, because when it presented the resolution to extend arms embargo on Iran, none of the United Nations Security Council members except for Dominican Republic voted for the resolution,” he said.

In May 2018, Trump withdrew his country from the Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and introduced the “toughest ever sanctions” on Iran.

Meanwhile, Washington has accused Tehran of violating the JCPOA and attempted last month to reimpose the UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The U.S. move to trigger what is known as the “snapback” mechanism came a week after its efforts to extend the UN arms embargo on Tehran failed miserably. Only the Dominican Republic joined Washington in voting yes.

The United States argues that it can trigger the sanctions snapback process because the 2015 Security Council resolution still names it as a nuclear deal participant.

However, in a joint letter to the Security Council on Thursday hours after the U.S. submitted it complaint, Britain, Germany and France said: “Any decisions and actions which would be taken based on this procedure or on its possible outcome would also be devoid of any legal effect.”

According to Nourbakhsh, that was the first time in the history of the UN that the United States faced such a defeat and could not get what it wished.

He argued that the U.S.’s unilateral approach is the most important reason behind its defeat.

The U.S. attempt to invoke the snapback clause of the JCPOA will create tension in the Security Council because UNSC members do not support the U.S. approach.

Abdou Abarry, Niger’s UN ambassador who chairs the Security Council for September, has said that the U.S. has no authority to start the snapback mechanism.

Iran has also argued that since the U.S. is not a member of the JCPOA anymore, it cannot invoke the so-called snapback mechanism.

“Based on the universally accepted general principle of law, the United States cannot benefit from the fruits of its unlawful act of withdrawal from the JCPOA by assuming that it has no obligation to submit its notification alongside a description of good-faith efforts,” Zarif wrote in a letter to the chairman of the UN Security Council on August 20.

Asked about the future of Iran-U.S. issues if the Democratic presidential candidate defeats Trump in the November elections, Nourbakhsh said Democrats do not want regime change. “They want to return to the JCPOA and prepare the ground for holding talks between Washington and Tehran.”

“If Joe Biden becomes the next U.S. president, the way of interaction between the U.S. and Iran will be smoother,” the expert stressed.

“All say that the JCPOA is a win-win international agreement that helps ensure global security,” he added.

There’s good chance Biden would rejoin JCPOA, says American professor

In similar remarks, a professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa predicted that if Biden becomes president, there would be a good chance he will rejoin the agreement if the other parties allow.

In an interview with ILNA published on Tuesday, Brian Warby said it isn’t clear whether the future of the JCPOA has changed.

“Trump is still adamantly opposed to it, but the other signatories seem to remain committed,” he said, emphasizing that Washington does not have the right to activate the process of reimposing sanctions on Iran.

By leaving the JCPOA, the U.S.’s stance that it can trigger the mechanism is effectively null and void, he said.

The professor confirmed that the U.S. was a key member of the JCPOA and by walking out and imposing sweeping sanctions against Iran, it has made it very difficult for the remaining parties to continue as before.

“The remaining allies have not failed to meet their obligations, strictly speaking,” he remarked.

On the goal of IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi’s recent trip to Iran, he said, “It doesn’t appear that Grossi’s trip has or will have much effect on tensions.”

Warby pointed to U.S. sanctions against Iran, arguing that it is entirely the U.S. actions that have discouraged many European and Asian investors and traders from doing business in Iran. “The Europeans and Asians are doing what they committed to do, so from their perspective, Iran should meet its obligation.”

“That isn’t comforting to Iran, of course, because they lose business (i.e. money) either way, so from their perspective, the agreement hasn’t delivered the promised returns, so it’s reasonable for them to complain that treaty hasn’t been fair,” he concluded.