Countries part of Iran nuclear deal claim US cannot force sanctions on Iran

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Signatories of the Iranian nuclear deal argued that the U.S. could not unilaterally enforce sanctions on Iran for allegedly breaking the terms of the 2015 agreement, because the U.S. broke from the deal in May 2018.

At a meeting today, the governments still part of the nuclear agreement  — the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, Iran and the European Union –  said the United States surrendered its authority in 2018 when it left the deal. 

“Participants reaffirmed that the United States unilaterally announced its cessation of participation in the JCPoA on 8 May 2018 and that it had not participated in any JCPoA-related activities subsequently,” the European Union said in a statement Tuesday referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the deal.

The EU reaffirmed its position and the position of other countries as part of the deal that the United States was no longer a participant and did not have rights to reinstate U.N. sanctions, such as the arms embargo.

The Trump administration led the charge last month to extend the Iranian arms embargo under the Iran nuclear deal, which expires Oct. 18.

The move was swiftly rejected as two member nations, Russia and China, vetoed the resolution.

Even if Russia and China had not issued vetoes, the resolution would have failed as it needed nine out of 15 votes to pass, and 11 of the 15 member nations abstained from voting on the measure.


The U.S. immediately threatened snapback sanctions, which would reinstate sanctions previously placed on Iran that were dissolved by the 2015 nuclear deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appealed to United Nations Security Council member nations for months, in an attempt to prevent Iran getting the green light to participate in arms sales with Venezuela, Syria and terrorist organizations.


“It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific U.N. restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade,” Pompeo said last month after the failed resolution to extend Iran’s arms embargo. “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable."

But the U.N. Security Council, who warned against the Trump administration’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, has doubled down, apparently rejecting the extension of the arms embargo and snapback sanctions claiming the administration has no right to invoke a deal that would return the sanctions.

The U.N. has cited concerns over further destabilization of the region and subverting nuclear non-proliferation talks, should they extend any limitations against Iran’s economy.

The signatories of the 2015 deal, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the EU and Iran met Tuesday to discuss nuclear nonproliferation agreements going forward as the nuclear deal comes to an end soon.

Iran agreed to allow inspectors to view two nuclear sites last week, after preventing the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, from gaining access to these sites earlier this year.

In response, the energy agency ramped up its pressure against Iran, demanding transparency and cooperation.


"Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA," Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, and the head of Iran's nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in a joint statement last week.

The State Department could not be immediately reached for comment.

Fox News' Rich Edison contributed to this report.

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