US cannot trigger ‘snapback’ sanctions on Iran: EU official

US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and can no longer call on its mechanisms, EU foreign policy chief said.

In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, technicians work at the Arak heavy water reactor''s secondary circuit, as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, 150 miles (250
The US wants an extension of the arms embargo on Iran but failed to push this through in the UN Security Council earlier this week [Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP]

The United States is not entitled to force the reinstatement of sanctions on Iran via the so-called “snapback” mechanism linked to an international nuclear deal, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said.

Since the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it cannot be considered a part of it, the official added on Sunday.

“Given that the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and has not participated in any JCPOA structures or activities subsequently, the US cannot be considered as a JCPOA participant,” a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, according to dpa news agency.

“We therefore consider that the US is not in a position to resort to mechanisms reserved for JCPOA participants [such as the so-called snapback].”


The nuclear agreement is intended to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons while granting it an internationally monitored civilian nuclear power programme.

In the course of the agreement adopted by the United Nations, the dismantling of sanctions against Iran was also regulated.

An arms embargo that is part of the deal is due to expire in October.

The US wants an extension of the embargo, but it failed to push this through in the UN Security Council earlier this week.

Now, President Donald Trump wants to force the reinstatement of all international sanctions on Iran against the will of the other members of the UNSC via the “snapback”.

“We’ll be doing a snapback,” Trump told reporters on Saturday at a press conference in New Jersey. “You’ll be watching it next week.”

The snapback was granted to the participants in the nuclear agreement in the event of a violation of the terms by Iran.

Iran slams Trump’s plan

Trump’s plan to implement the “snapback” mechanism is illegal and unacceptable, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

“The Americans got out of the atomic deal in May 2018 and they know very well that the implementation of the snapback is something illegal and therefore absolutely unacceptable,” state news agency IRNA cited Zarif as saying.

Tehran maintains that Trump’s strategic goal is not only to torpedo the 2015 nuclear agreement but also to enforce unilateralism and thus change the world order.

“All countries should show solidarity in order to defend the reputation of the UN,” Diako Hosseini, political adviser in the Tehran presidential office, tweeted on Sunday.

In Tehran, it is also suspected that Trump is trying to cover up his domestic political problems with a new foreign policy crisis in hopes of increasing his chances of being re-elected in November.

Source: News Agencies