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Int’l community rejects U.S. unilateral announcement on return of UN sanctions on Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The United States unilaterally proclaimed on Saturday that UN sanctions against Iran are back in force and promised to punish those who violate them, in a move that risks increasing Washington’s isolation but also international tensions. File Photo

Beijing, China | XINHUA | The international community has denounced the unilateral announcement made by the United States to resume United Nations (UN) sanctions on Iran, saying the attempt is illegitimate and that the United States has no right to impose them.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN, on Sunday wrote a letter to the president of the Security Council and UN secretary-general expressing his opposition to the U.S. unilateral move.

In his letter, Zhang said that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and is no longer a JCPOA participant. Therefore, he said, it is illegitimate for the United States to demand the Security Council invoke the snapback mechanism.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that “the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and “sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231.”

Shortly after Pompeo’s statement, Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the UN Security Council has not taken any action that would lead to the resumption of the previous sanctions against Iran.

To claim that UN sanctions against Iran have been restored is “wishful thinking,” the ministry added, urging the U.S. side to “have the courage to finally face the truth and stop speaking on behalf of the UN Security Council.”

Meanwhile, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Sunday said the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and therefore “cannot initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions” under the UNSCR 2231.

“Consequently, sanctions lifting commitments under the JCPOA continue to apply,” he said.

As coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, Borrell pledged to continue to ensure the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA by Iran and other participants.

Commenting on the remarks by Pompeo, spokesperson of Iran’s foreign ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said Pompeo’s position is “a world full of lies,” and the only trace of the U.S. actions in the world is “ruinous and ominous legacy,” and Washington is now heading for “a new act of defiance.”

Iran’s message to Washington, he added, is that it should “return to the global community and do its duties.”

The U.S. administration has sought to invoke the “snapback” mechanism to restore all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran after its failed attempt in the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo against Tehran.

In August, the president of UN Security Council said he “is not in the position” to take further action, as there is no consensus among council members over the issue.

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