Tehran has poked fun at Mike Pompeo after the top US diplomat set a deadline to ‘snap back’ sanctions on Iran under JCPOA, which he branded a “foolish” deal, and despite the UN Security Council refusal to back the US initiative.
“The clock is ticking just in Pompeo’s parallel alternate universe!” exclaimed Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry. “This happens when an ex-spymaster leads US diplomacy,” he opined, referring to the secretary of state’s previous career in the CIA.
This week, UN Security Council (UNSC) president Dian Triansyah Djani said the return of the sanctions, the so-called snapback, is unlikely, as 13 out of 15 member states reminded the US has no standing to do so, having left the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. In mid-August, the UN also refused to back Washington’s bid to extend an arms embargo on Iran beyond its expiration in October.
The embarrassing refusal didn’t stop Pompeo from announcing a three-week deadline for the snapback of sanctions. “If any member of the UN Security Council introduces a resolution to continue sanctions relief, the US will oppose it. If no resolution is introduced, the sanctions on Iran will still return on September 20,” he tweeted Thursday.
In his latest publications, Pompeo wasn’t shy to claim the US has the right to trigger the return of the sanctions according to UNSC resolution 2231.
The document formally names Washington as a participant of the 2015 agreement, but the relevance of the clause is dubious, since the Trump administration abandoned the deal in 2018.
Pompeo, who insists the snapback mechanism is lawful under the pact, doesn’t appear to be a big fan of it. This month, he labeled it “one-sided” and “foolish,” and said it only enshrined Iran’s “malign behavior.”
This on top of his previous hawkish statements on Tehran’s conduct.
The UN sanctions – which Washington is so keen to revive – were put in place back in the 2010s to contain Iran’s nuclear program. Lifting these saw a revival of economic activity in Iran, with the country opening up to international trade, investment, and political dialogue.
Following the US withdrawal, Iran ceased abiding by some of its commitments and started to enrich uranium beyond the deal’s limitations.
Simultaneously, it signaled a willingness to remain within the agreement, although it has been at odds with the UN-run International Atomic Energy Agency over international inspections – until a deal was reached to allow monitoring of two parties within Iran, to contain nuclear material.