“Like we stressed many times, the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA (the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), means renunciation of its rights as a participant of the deal, and it is in no position to demand enacting the snap-back mechanism,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on Friday.
Pointing to Washington’s attitude in withdrawing from international organizations and treaties, harming multilateralism and the authority of the Security Council and undermining international non-proliferation regime, the Chinese official said, “Its move to push for a resolution or send a letter to the Security Council cannot justify its above-mentioned behaviors.”
The spokesman emphasized that the parties to the JCPOA and an overwhelming majority of the Security Council believe that the US demand to enact the ‘snapback’ mechanism has no legal basis, and it has not been invoked.
“This fully demonstrates that the US unilateral position runs counter to the wide consensus of the international community and its attempt to sabotage the JCPOA will never succeed,” Zhao said.
China urges the US to “stop going down the wrong path, otherwise it will only meet further opposition,” he said.
The Iranian nuclear issue, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman added, can be solved through “equal-footed dialogue and candid consultations” instead of imposing sanctions, mounting pressure or even making military threats.
Beijing is ready to cooperate with other parties to find a proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through political and diplomatic channels with the purpose of maintaining the JCPOA and authority of the Security Council, upholding international non-proliferation regime and safeguarding regional peace and stability, Zhao stated.
As part of an illegal underway push, the United States is trying to invoke the snapback mechanism in the JCPOA despite its withdrawal in May 2018 in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorses the nuclear deal.
On Thursday, the United States’ most prominent Western allies refused to fall into step with the push to snap back the sanctions against Iran.
Britain, France, and Germany said they could not support the United States in the move, describing Washington’s action as incompatible with efforts to support the 2015 deal, Reuters reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States has no right to abuse mechanisms enshrined in the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers to restore UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic after they were lifted under the accord.
In a Thursday letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Iranian foreign minister said the dangerous and unlawful position of the United States defies the established norms of international law and procedures, which have been put in place through centuries to safeguard the world from chaos.
Russia will not recognize US demand for re-imposition of sanctions against Iran: Envoy to UN
A senior Russian diplomat on Thursday rejected the American plan to restore UN sanctions on Iran as “nonexistent,” saying only a country that is still a party to the Iran nuclear deal can invoke the return of the sanctions.
“A [sanctions] snapback can be triggered by a country that is a participant of the JCPOA, of which the United States is not. They officially withdrew from the JCPOA. That’s a question that inevitably every other delegation at the Security Council agrees on”, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters.
“We consider a snapback nonexistent, we will not take it as a snapback – what they will presumably notify today the presidency of the Security Council.”
Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov has criticized the “poorly calculated” US push to trigger the snapback provision, saying the new adventurism will draw negative international reaction since it makes a “mockery” of common sense.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday and Thursday, Ulyanov said, “US is about to make a big mistake which can have extremely negative implications not only for #US but for #UN as a whole. In particular it can become a turning point for such a tool available for UNSC as #sanctions under Chapter Vii of the UN Charter. Very risky adventure.”
US not a JCPOA participant, cannot call for restoring sanctions: EU
In addition, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell pointed out that Washington had unilaterally ceased participation in the JCPOA by presidential memorandum on May 8, 2018 and has subsequently not participated in any JCPOA-related activities.
“It cannot, therefore, be considered to be a JCPOA participant State for the purposes of possible sanctions snapback foreseen by the resolution,” Borrell said in a statement on Thursday.
He added that as the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, he would continue to do everything possible to ensure that the JCPOA would be preserved and fully implemented by all its parties.
“The JCPOA remains a key pillar of the global non-proliferation architecture, contributing to regional security.”
Eight other Security Council members express opposition to US bid
On Friday, the US was further isolated after eight other UN Security Council members expressed their opposition to Washington’s anti-Iran push, arguing that the move is void given the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear agreement two years ago.
Reuters said it had seen letters written in opposition by Belgium, Vietnam, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Indonesia, Estonia and Tunisia. Now 13 members of the 15-member council have voiced their opposition in the 24 hours since Pompeo launched the sanctions snapback push.