The European Union on Tuesday said there is “no positive alternative” to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“There is no positive alternative to the JCPOA, which is the fruit of more than 12 years of negotiation, endorsed at the highest level by the international community and enshrined in the UNSC Resolution 2231,” Olof Skoog, the EU ambassador to the UN told a virtual meeting of the Security Council using the official name of Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Skoog said the JCPOA withstood “enormous pressure” over the past years after US President Donald Trump abandoned the multilateral accord in and unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
The envoy said the remaining parties to the deal – Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – “demonstrated their conviction and steadfast willingness to work diplomatically to preserve the deal” at a recent meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission through videoconference held by the remaining participants at ministerial level on Monday.
“Such determination proves the importance and the value of the JCPOA. It is solid evidence of the need to continue multilateral diplomacy and sustain and support multilateral agreements and institutions,” he said.
Skoog hailed the JCPOA as “a key component of the global non-proliferation architecture,” saying its full implementation by all sides was “crucial for all JCPOA participants and the international community to reap the benefits of this agreement.”
The deal promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its peaceful nuclear program, but with the reinstatement of American sanctions, the other nations failed to protect Iran.
A year after Trump’s withdrawal, Iran took several measures and rolled back part of its nuclear work in retaliation. Tehran has time and again said its measures to scale back commitments under the nuclear deal can be undone once other parties keep their side of the bargain.
According to the EU ambassador to the UN, Iran’s steps away from the accord are “inconsistent with the nuclear-related provisions of the JCPOA. “We call on Iran to reverse these activities and return to full implementation of its commitments,” he said.
Skoog also said that the 27-nation bloc “deeply regrets” the US unilateral pullout, the subsequent reimposition of previously lifted sanctions and the decision to discontinue granting nuclear waivers have hampered the full implementation of the deal.
Highlighting the abortive US attempt to trigger the so-called snapback provision in the nuclear deal, he said Washington had ceased its participation in the JCPOA in May 2018 and had not subsequently attended any of the activities related to the deal.
“The United States can, therefore, not be considered a JCPOA participant State and could not initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231. I also note that the position of the majority of the members of this Council regard the US’ attempt to initiate the process of reinstating UN sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 having no legal basis,” the EU ambassador explained.
He also said the EU “remains fully committed to support efforts to normalize economic and trade relations” with Iran.
UN official urges efforts to preserve JCPOA
During Tuesday’s meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peace Building Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo called for efforts to preserve the JCPOA.
“The Iranian nuclear issue is an important non-proliferation subject, with consequences for regional and global peace and security,” she said, according to Press TV.
“In achieving the JCPOA, the concerned countries had shown that their dialog and diplomacy, supported by a united Security Council, could forge a path to resolving this issue. We hope that these countries and the Council can do so again.”
DiCarlo also expressed regret that the US has re-imposed sanctions since its withdrawal from the deal, and that Iran has scaled back some of its commitments.
Russia: US pressure campaign failed
The Russian representative to the UN said the US authorities have over the past year tried to convince themselves and the rest of the world that the “maximum pressure” on Iran is the only possible way to resolve problems.
However, he added, all their efforts failed and members of the UN Security Council showed considerable unity.
"The illegal claims of the United States and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran indicated the unrealistic stances of the United States," the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster quoted the Russian envoy as saying.
"Once again, we regret that leaders of the United Nations did not have the courage to explicitly call on the United States to return fully and unconditionally to adhere to UN Security Council Resolution and JCPOA and to stop all acts that have violated these documents."
China: US approach root cause of predicament
China’s representative to the UN emphasized that the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and its policy of maximum pressure on Iran are “the root causes of the current predicament.”
“Faced with that country’s unreasonable demands, most Council members refused to endorse its position, thus reflecting the international community’s support for justice and multilateralism,” he said.
“All parties should maintain calm and restraint, implement the Plan of Action and restore the balance of rights and obligations under it. Going forward, all parties should seize the opportunity to put the Plan of Action back on the right track. The most important task is for the United States to mend its way, rejoin the agreement and return to full compliance.”