US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A Russian spokesman for the United Nations said Tuesday that Moscow would counteract any US attempts to extend the arms embargo on Iran and impose new UN sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Speaking at a press conference on video communications, Vasily Nebenzya made it clear that the Trump administration will be very difficult to push new punitive measures against Iran in the UN Security Council, where Russia has a veto.
The United States at the end of April distributed to a small number of Council member countries a draft resolution on an indefinite extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran, which expires in October.
According to officials from the Trump administration and United Nations diplomats, the draft resolution removed the mention of the expiration of the embargo. At one time, the UN Security Council approved a nuclear deal between the six leading powers in the face of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and Iran.
Russia does not make a secret of its desire to resume the supply of conventional weapons to Iran. Nebenzya said the arms embargo is a “byproduct” of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), and is temporary.
“It expires in October. And for us this is obvious, ”he said. “I see no reason why the arms embargo should be imposed on Iran.”
Nebenze was asked whether the Trump administration could try to take advantage of the provision of the UN Security Council resolution of 2015 in support of the nuclear deal, according to which all canceled or weakened UN sanctions against Iran can be restored. The Russian Permanent Representative emphasized: “To initiate the restoration of sanctions, you must be a member of the JCPOA. And the United States on May 8, 2018 proudly announced that they had left the JCPOA and closed the door behind themselves.”
“And now they are knocking on this door, saying:“ Wait, we forgot to do one thing in the JCPOA. Let us do it and leave again, ”said Nebenzya.
He called the possibility of extending the embargo at the initiative of the United States ridiculous and emphasized that this was obvious to him. “They are not members, and they do not have the right to use the tools provided by the JCPOA,” Nebenzya said. He also asked what the United States would benefit from the extension of the embargo, since “the extension will definitely put an end to the JCPOA.”
According to Nebenzi, the result will be that “the most thorough inspections” conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Iran will end. “My question is: is it in the interests of the United States?” – he said.
According to US officials who are not authorized to discuss this issue publicly and asked not to be named, the Trump administration is not currently planning to raise this controversial issue.
Although President Trump has withdrawn from the Iranian nuclear deal, the United States claims to have the right to raise the issue of sanctions retroactively, as provided for by its terms in the event of “significant violations” by Iran.
This position is based on the State Department’s innovative legal argument, which was first introduced in December. According to these arguments, although the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal, they remain its “original participant” under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution.
This resolution does list all parties to the 2015 agreement. However, many diplomats, supporting Russia, said that the American arguments are unfounded, because the Trump administration has repeatedly emphasized that it is no longer a party to the transaction.
Nebenzyu was asked who, by law, is an arbitrator, able to determine whether the United States has the right to demand an extension of the embargo without being a party to the agreement.
“First of all, this should be decided by members of the Security Council, as well as other members of the JCPOA,” said the Permanent Representative. Nebenzya referred to a letter from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif addressed to UN Secretary General Antoni Guterres on Tuesday. It says that the United States is not only “flagrantly violating” the resolution of 2015 on non-compliance, but also “brazenly trying to use illegal methods to repeal it, despising the established principles of international law.”
Having unilaterally left the JCPOA, the United States “lost all its rights,” Nebenzya Zarifa quoted. He further stated that he fully subscribes to the words of the Iranian minister, noting: “This seems to me a true legal interpretation.”
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