China and ‘E3’ European Countries Join Russia in Rejecting U.S. Letter on Iran
Aug. 21, 2020 (EIRNS)—The remaining five signers of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—China, France, U.K., Germany, and Russia—have completely rejected the notification that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo submitted to the UN Security Council yesterday demanding the re-imposition of UN sanctions on Iran. “The U.S. demand has no legal ground and common sense,” a spokesman for the Chinese UN mission said yesterday. “It is nothing but a political show staged by the United States. It receives no support of the Security Council members and no acknowledgment of the international community.”
The Chinese view is that the JCPOA was endorsed by UN Security Council resolution 2231 and therefore has the force of international law. “Having quit the JCPOA, the United States is no longer a participant to the JCPOA and has no right to demand the Security Council invoke a snapback as stipulated in Resolution 2231,” the spokesman continued.
“In the meantime, a snapback mechanism should never be invoked until all efforts are made to exhaust the dispute resolution process specified in the JCPOA. Therefore, the JCPOA participants and overwhelming majority of the Security Council members believe that the U.S. demand has no legal basis, and a snapback mechanism has not been invoked.”
The spokesman stated that Chinese UN Ambassador Zhang Jun has sent a letter to the President of the Security Council to this effect.
The foreign ministers of the U.K., France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing a similar view. “France, Germany and the United Kingdom (‘the E3’) note that the U.S. ceased to be a participant to the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the deal on 8 May, 2018,” it said. “We cannot therefore support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA.” The E3 members remain committed to preserving the JCPOA “despite the significant challenges caused by U.S. withdrawal. We believe that we should address the current issue of systematic Iranian non-compliance with its JCPOA obligations through dialogue between JCPOA participants, including through the Joint Commission and use of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism,” the statement continued. “In order to preserve the agreement, we urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with its nuclear commitments and return to full compliance without delay.”
Unlike the Chinese statement, the E3 did pay obeisance to U.S. concerns about the expiration of the arms embargo in October and Iran’s “destabilizing” activities. “The E3 are determined to bring adequate answers to these challenges and will continue to work with all UNSC members and stakeholders to seek a path forward that preserves space for further diplomacy,” they said. “Our efforts will be guided by the need to uphold the authority and integrity of the UN Security Council and to advance regional security and stability.”
Russia, of course, rejected the U.S. position even before Pompeo submitted his letter. “We will not take it as a snapback what they presumably notify today the Presidency of the Security Council,” Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told reporters. He said that Russia will not present a resolution, and any resolution submitted by the other side will be considered invalid. “We are seriously concerned that Washington’s actions, which we consider to be reckless, can lead to a crisis, perhaps a very deep crisis, within the [UN] Security Council,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed during her press briefing yesterday. “Unfortunately, it seems that it doesn’t at all bother our American colleagues. We urge all countries to strongly resist that.”