European Union defends Iran and criticizes US sanctions

The European Union’s foreign affairs official, Josep Borrell, confirmed today, Sunday, that the United States has withdrawn from the nuclear deal with Iran and cannot re-impose UN sanctions.

In a statement, he said that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in May 2018 and has not subsequently participated in any activities related to it.

He added, “Consequently, it cannot be considered a participant in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the agreement) nor can it start the process of re-imposing United Nations sanctions under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231”.

Consequently, sanctions-lifting obligations under the JCPOA continue to apply.

He added, “As the coordinator of the joint committee (of the agreement), I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that the JCPOA is maintained and fully implemented by all”.

He stressed that the nuclear agreement remains a fundamental pillar of the global nuclear non-proliferation structure, and contributes to regional and global security as it deals with the Iranian nuclear program in a comprehensive manner.

He added, “I call on everyone to do their utmost to preserve the agreement and refrain from any action that could be seen as an escalation in the current situation”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a statement yesterday that his country has resumed all United Nations sanctions against Iran that were frozen under the nuclear deal.

Weeks ago, the administration of US President Donald Trump submitted a request to activate the “Snapback” mechanism (automatic return of sanctions) that allows any of the signatories to the nuclear deal to re-activate sanctions in the event Tehran does not comply with the agreement.

However, the request was not supported by assurances that the United States had no right to reactivate a mechanism in the agreement from which it had already withdrawn.

In 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement, while neither Iran nor the other major countries that are party to it (Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) withdrew from it.