Iran dismisses US push for snapback sanctions

Iranian officials have rejected the idea that the United States will implement the snapback sanctions that were rejected.

al-monitor US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Aug. 15, 2020. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images.

Sep 17, 2020

As the United States prepares to push for the reapplication of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations again, Iran sees another failed attempt to dismantle the nuclear deal.

US State Department officials said Sept. 16 they will push to trigger the snapback sanctions against Iran despite having lost a vote to do so Aug. 14. As part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, the arms embargo on Iran is set to expire. The United States, however, is seeking to extend the arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, using the JCPOA snapback mechanism option against Iran. Since the United States announced its exit from the deal, the other members of the United Nations, particularly Europe, rejected the US move, saying it is no longer part of the deal and cannot initiate any part of its mechanisms.

In response to the new US efforts, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “No snapback has been started for it to even reach a conclusion.” He said the United States “does not have the qualifications” to trigger a snapback and therefore is not even able to start the one-month process. Rouhani also warned that some media outlets outside of the country would repeat the news that the United States has achieved snapback sanctions, but he referred to this as “fake news.”

Rouhani said the United States would fail in its attempt to claim the sanctions have been slapped on Iran, adding, “This failure of America is one of the great victories of Iran.” He compared this victory to the victory of the Iran-Iraq War.

An article in hard-line newspaper Javan wrote that if Europe is not able to stop the United States from unilaterally pushing sanctions, then Iran should push ahead with 90% enrichment. The article, titled “The Final Curtain of the JCPOA,” argued that if Europe continues to claim it is still part of the JCPOA, then it has to abide by its commitments; otherwise, Iran should “turn off the cameras and implement 90% enrichment.” As part of the nuclear deal, Iran had agreed to limit its enrichment to 3.67%. But as the United States exited the deal and applied sanctions, Iran incrementally took steps away from the deal to 4.5% enrichment. Iran’s measured steps away from the deal were to force Europe to continue trade with the country, but it has been so far unsuccessful.

Ebrahim Raisi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the United States activating the trigger mechanism will have no real impact on the country. “For three years they have applied maximum pressure on us, and now their hands are empty and they know themselves they cannot take any serious actions against us,” Raisi said, adding that the United States acting as if the snapback sanctions will be applied has more to do with psychological warfare and is related to Donald Trump wanting a victory ahead of the US presidential elections.

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