Pompeo’s JCPOA Insanity


‘To Finally Kill The Nuclear Deal With Iran The U.S. Will Try To Rejoin It’, April 27, 2020, moonofalabama.org

“On May 8 2018 the U.S. ceased its participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or nuclear deal with Iran. The New York Times now reports that the U.S. wants to be back in for some nefarious reason:

‘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.” ‘

‘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.

If the arms embargo is not renewed, the United States would exercise that right as an original member of the agreement. That step would force a restoration of the wide array of the sanctions that prohibited oil sales and banking arrangements before the adoption of the agreement in 2015. Enforcing those older sanctions would, in theory, be binding on all members of the United Nations.

Political calculations aside, the administration’s larger plan may go beyond imposing harsher sanctions on Iran. It is also to force Tehran to give up any pretense of preserving the Obama-era agreement. Only by shattering it, many senior administration officials say, will Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani be forced to negotiate an entirely new agreement more to Mr. Trump’s liking.

“The idea is idiotic and it will not work. There will be no ‘snapback’ sanctions and Iran will stick to the deal.

The snapback option is part of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism that is laid out in article 36 and 37 of the JCPOA deal. UN Dispatch has a short description of what it means:

The deal signed this morning creates an eight member panel, called the “Joint Commission” to serve as a dispute resolution mechanism. The members of the panel are the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, plus Germany, Iran and the European Union. There are eight members total. If a majority (5) finds Iran to be cheating, the issue is referred to the Security Council. No single country has a veto.

And here is where things get interesting. The language of the nuclear deal says that the vote in the Security Council would not be to reimpose sanctions. Rather, the Security Council must decide whether or not to continue lifting the sanctions. And if they fail to do so, the old sanctions are snapped back into place. This framing obviates the prospect of a Russian veto, and it all but assures that if the Western countries believe that Iran is cheating, sanctions will automatically be re-imposed.’

Bernhard opines that Sanger is wrong in claiming:

But the administration’s strategy could well work, even if other members of the United Nations ignored the move. At that point, on paper at least, the United Nations would be back to all the sanctions on Iran that existed before Mr. Obama reached the accord with Tehran.

and says:

“No, it can not work. Only participants of the deal can trigger the snapback process. The U.S. is no longer recognized as such a participant.

Before a snapback can occur there are actually formal processes in the ‘Joint Commission’ and in the UNSC which must be followed. Those processes will not happen because the other JCPOA and UNSC members will simply ignore a U.S. attempt to trigger them” with the caveat that other members could agree, although historically the EU nations haven’t, including the fact that Iran had broken a few rules of the agreement (further enriching uranium as a wake-up jolt to the EU for ending sancations?), and that:

“Iran countered that with arguing that it was still within the deal limits and then threatened to leave the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty should the Europeans follow through.

He’d also referenced a long list of qhotes, headlines noting: ‘The US is Out of the Deal’; his Q andA with John Joltin’ Bolton reads purdy darned funny.

I’d checked in with Iraninan FM Javad Zarif on Twitter, and found that he and Tehran new what this ploy was about.  So I’d bingled to find a longer version of his reaction, and found:

‘Zarif: Pompeo wants to be ‘JCPOA participant’ after failure of ‘maximum pressure policy’, Apr 27, 2020, iranpress.com/en

“Mohammad Javad Zarif in his recent post on Twitter on Monday said that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his boss – the US President Donald Trump, had declared ‘CEASING US participation’ in JCPOA, “dreaming that their ‘max pressure’ would bring Iran to its knees.”

He called the result of the maximum pressure policy as ‘abject failure’, added that the US Secretary of State now “wants to be the JCPOA participant.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister urged the US officials to “Stop Dreaming”, stressing: “Iranian Nation always decides its destiny.”

The New York Times on May 27 revealed a US ploy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran, which is due to expire in October.” […]

“The United Nations UN Security Council added arms embargo on Iran in 2006 and 2007, which is supposed to be lifted on 18 October 2020, five years after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Adoption Day.”

I’d also found a two-fer at iranpress.com/en:

Iran, Russia say US illusory plans over JCPOA; unacceptable, impractical’, Apr 28, 2020


“Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed the latest political developments in Afghanistan.

They two sides also exchanged views on efforts to achieve reconciliation as well as the political understanding in this country.

During the event, the foreign Ministers of Iran and Russia also talked about Us phantasmagorical plans on Iran’s Nuclear Deal known as JCPOA calling it unacceptable and impractical.”

Also: ‘Pres. Rouhani: American should not conspire against Iran’, Apr 29, 2020

“Felicitating the Persian Gulf Day to the Iranian nation,  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “I congratulate this day to the people, from whom the name of this gulf comes from, and will remain the Persian Gulf forever. Let the enemies know that the Army, the IRGC, and all Iranian law enforcement and military forces have been –and will be- the guardians of this waterway.”

“The Americans should know that the name of this gulf is “The Persian Gulf” and not the Gulf of New York and Washington, and this nation has been –and is- the guardian of the security of this waterway for thousands of years and they should not conspire against this nation every day,” he noted while speaking at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.” […]

“The President also said that this year has been a difficult year for the people, and Corona has been creating problems for both health and employment, while our dear workers in the workshops that were active, tried their best to meet the needs of the country.

President Rouhani also stated efforts have been made to protect the health of the people these days and to meet the needs of the people in the market. I tell people that because the end of the Coronavirus is unknown, we must prepare ourselves for work, science, research, and hope for society.” […]

“President Rouhani further noted, “Today, we are able to export even the antibody detection kits, and some leaders of the countries ask us to export these kits. This is our honor. This is the honor of all of those who conduct researches in these fields.”

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

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