President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hailed the show of unity by parties to the Iran nuclear deal, after they defeated US efforts to restore international sanctions.
Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – dubbed the "4+1" – are struggling to save the accord after the United States unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has stepped up its nuclear activities in the past year in retaliation for Washington's pullout from the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
"Fortunately, yesterday in Vienna, the 4+1 clearly stated that they stand by the JCPOA and that America does not have the right to misuse it," Rouhani said in remarks to the weekly cabinet meeting broadcast on television.
"They have not only pulled out of the JCPOA, but also punished whoever has abided by it."
Rouhani called Washington's drive to reimpose UN sanctions against Iran "futile and childish."
The European Union’s senior official Helga Schmid, who chaired the talks in Vienna, said the participants were "united in resolve to preserve" the nuclear agreement.
Schmid said that the US cannot launch the process to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran using a Security Council resolution enshrining a deal it has abandoned.
Rouhani said he had spoken to the current Security Council President Abdou Abarry of Niger, who he said "shared our views" that the US cannot reimpose international sanctions.
The Security Council last week blocked the US bid to reimpose sanctions.
Washington also failed to rally enough support to extend an arms embargo on Iran that is scheduled to begin being rolled back from October.
Rouhani hailed the pushbacks against the US as a "victory" for Tehran and a "disgraceful failure" for Washington.
No further action
Niger, the Security Council president for September, said on Tuesday it stands by a declaration that no further action can be taken on the US bid to trigger a return of UN sanctions on Iran because there is no consensus in the 15-member body.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he triggered a 30-day process on Aug. 20 to reimpose all international sanctions on Iran – known as snapback – by lodging a complaint with the council accusing Iran of breaching the JCPOA.
But Indonesia’s UN Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, the council president for August, said that he was “not in the position to take further action” because 13 council members had expressed their opposition.
“We’re staying with this decision... that was stated and announced by the president of the Security Council last month,” Abarry, Niger’s UN ambassador said, ruling out any move to put forward a draft resolution under the snapback process to extend sanctions relief for Iran.
But Abarry noted, “Any other member state of the Security Council can do it. The United States themselves can do it.”
Washington would veto such a resolution, Pompeo posted on Twitter last Thursday, though he did not signal whether the United States would put forward such a text itself. He said that under the snapback process, “if no resolution is introduced, the sanctions on Iran will still return on September 20.”
Thirteen council members argue that Washington’s attempt to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran is void given it is using a process agreed under a deal it withdrew from two years ago.
The Dominican Republic is the only council member not to have stated a position on the US move.
China’s ambassador in Tehran underlined that the US government is not allowed to trigger the snapback mechanism.
“It is the common belief that US cannot initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under UNSCR2231,” Chang Hua said in a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the permanent mission of China to the United Nations hailed the Tuesday session of the JCPOA Joint Commission as a “fruitful meeting at a critical juncture”, dismissing the US push to renew the sanctions on Iran.
AFP, Reuter and Tasnim contributed to this story.