Apr 30, 2020, 2:54 PM
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Trump attempts to extend arms embargo on Iran for re-election: Analyst

Tehran, April 30, IRNA – A political analyst said on Thursday that the US administration is trying to extend arms embargo on Iran in order to save US President Donald Trump’s neck from defeat in the 2020 election.

Koroush Ahamdi said that any victory for Iran is tantamount to Trump’s losing the Oval Office.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action stipulated that the arms embargo on Iran must be lifted in October 2020.

New York Times wrote on Sunday, “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country.”

NYT also wrote, “In an effort to force the issue, Mr. Pompeo has approved a plan, bound to be opposed by many of Washington’s European allies, under which the United States would, in essence, claim it legally remains a ‘participant state’ in the nuclear accord that Mr. Trump has denounced — but only for the purposes of invoking a ‘snapback’ that would restore the U.N. sanctions on Iran that were in place before the accord.”

IRNA had an exclusive interview with Iran’s former diplomat at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and excerpt of which follows:

Answering the question, “Can the US claim it is still a part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action though it withdrew from it in May 2018?” Ahmadi answered that it is crystal clear that Trump pulled the US out of the deal in an official memorandum on 8 May 2018 using the most explicit legal terms. The US renewed its unilateral sanctions on Iran and avoided partaking in the JCPOA Joint Commissions, which sealed the withdrawal. So, the US cannot use the articles 11, 12 of UNSC Resolution 2231 to claim Iran has violated the deal. The US is not allowed not to be loyal to any of its commitments and only use Article 11 of the deal.

Regarding Richard Goldberg, a former member of the U.S. National Security Council, saying that because Resolution 2231 is binding, the US is still a part of the JCPOA, Ahmadi said Goldberg’s pseudo-deductions are actually legal sophistry. He claims that Resolution 2231 is binding to all UN members and is separate from the JCPOA. He claims that the deal does not say that if a country withdrew from it, it is deprived of its rights mentioned in the Resolution, including snapback.  

He said that this deduction ignores the fact that the resolution was passed to implement the JCPOA and wants the countries to implement the deal, something which the US overtly violated, adding that the US will definitely say that Article 1 is a suggestion and article 11 is binding.

Answering a question about why the US is suggesting renewal of Iran’s sanctions or even imposing heavier ones, Ahmadi said the US plans to stop implementation of Article 5 of Appendix B of Resolution 2231, which explicitly says Iran’s weapons sanctions would be removed “the date five years after the JCPOA Adoption Day”, which is 18 October, 2020. The only way the US can stop that is to use the snapback. That’s why they are moving heaven and earth to do it.

He said heavier sanctions, mentioned by NYT, are just a threat the US is using to implement its plot.

Asked to what extent the US is going to use the pressures to make Iran move to the negotiation table Washington has arranged, Ahmadi said though the plan is in the framework of maximum pressure, it does not directly pertain to pressuring Iran for talks. The US is trying to deprive Iran of its right to have access to conventional weaponry. But one of Trump’s goals is to make some amendments to the JCPOA and implement it under the name “Trump’s Deal”, which was one of his campaign promises. However, Pompeo and his partners are after a broader plan.

Answering IRNA about how the US move will affect the elections as the time of the weapon sanctions being removed will almost coincide with the US Presidential elections, he said if the weapons sanctions on Iran are removed, it will be considered a defeat for Trump and the Democrats will use it to show that Trump’s policies regarding Iran have not been effective, which may lead to Trump’s defeat.

Regarding the reactions of other JCPOA members to the US move, Ahmadi said, “We have to wait and see.” They should naturally oppose the legal sophistry but, firstly, the world is a world of give and take. Some more, some less. And secondly, the legal conditions are unprecedentedly sophisticated.  

He added that Article 11 of Resolution 2231 is automatic. If Iran is introduced as a violator of the deal, previous resolutions will automatically become effective.

But how the US will try to activate the mechanism from out of the deal and how the others will stop them if they want so is a question, which is unprecedented in the international law, he said, adding that the US relies on its position as a superpower for that.

Regarding what will happen if the issue is sent to the UNSC and if the JCPOA will officially come to an end, he said according to NYT, the US is will first try to propose extending the conventional arms embargo though a UNSC resolution, and if vetoed, for example by Russia, they will use Article 11 of Resolution 2231, which will further weaken the deal.

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