“Only participants in the JCPOA are allowed to notify the UN Security Council of any serious breach by Iran of its obligations under the JCPOA. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018, thereby losing the right to initiate the resumption of the process of renewing UN sanctions against Iran,” Maas told the London-based Al-Araby al-Jadeed media outlet in an interview published on Sunday, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the official name of the Iran nuclear deal.
Last month, US Secretary of State Pompeo told the UN that his country was “initiating” a process to return the sanctions, citing what he called Iran’s violation of the JCPOA.
Thirteen members of the UN Security Council’s 15-strong board, however, refused to lend any credit to the US bid, reminding that Washington left the JCPOA in 2018, therefore, giving up the right to invoke the sanction “snapback” mechanism that is included in the deal.
The sanctions in question were lifted in 2015 when Iran and six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US – reached the landmark nuclear deal.
But US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, saying the deal – negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama – was insufficient. He also renewed and even strengthened Washington's own sanctions on Iran.
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, in his capacity as president of the United Nations Security Council for the month of October, also said on Thursday that contrary to the US claim, the snapback “has not happened”.
Maas said Germany, France and the United Kingdom “remain committed to preserving and fully implementing the JCPOA”.
He said the agreement is "currently the only instrument” to keep Iran nuclear program under “robust” international oversight.
Maas urged Iran to “take concrete practical steps” toward full compliance with its nuclear commitments and refrain from any further steps away from the deal.
A year after the US pullout, Iran began to roll back parts of its nuclear activities in an effort to pressure the European members of the deal to protect it against US sanctions.
Iran has said time and again it will return to full compliance with the JCPOA if it receives all benefits promised under the deal.