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Iran to react if US prevents lifting arms embargo as per nuclear deal: President Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the country will not remain indifferent and will show suitable reaction if the US tries to prevent lifting of arms embargo against the Islamic Republic, which will end this year in accordance with the landmark nuclear deal that Tehran clinched with six world powers back in 2015.

During past months, Washington has stepped up calls for the extension of a UN arms embargo on Iran, which will expire in October under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The administration of US President Donald Trump has threatened that it may seek to trigger a snapback of all sanctions on Iran if its attempts to extend the arms embargo fail.

The landmark nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany — in 2015. However, in May 2018, US President Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran and began unleashing the “toughest ever” fresh sanctions.

While the US is no longer a party to the JCPOA, it has launched a campaign to renew the Iran arms ban — in place since 2006/2007 — through a resolution at the Security Council, but Russia and China are most likely to veto it. 

Addressing a cabinet session on Sunday, Rouhani said, “The termination of the arms ban [on Iran] … is one of the important achievements of the JCPOA and if Americans want to question this achievement, other big countries know what our reaction will be.”

The Iranian president also expressed hope that “all countries who are members of the United Nations Security Council and the Board of Governors” of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would be aware of “the US planning with regard to these plots.”

“We, for our part, will be successful in this regard and will weather these plans that the United States has made for Iran,” he noted.

Posting a tweet in early June, Iran’s UN ambassador said the US’ call for an extension of the UN Security Council’s arms embargo on Tehran lacked legal standing in international law.

Majid Takht-e Ravanchi said the US ambassador to the UN “wrongly” believes the US retains the right to initiate snapback of sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“WRONG: US cannot be a JCPOA ‘Participant’, since Donald Trump ceased US participation,” the Iranian ambassador noted, referring to Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw his country from the Iran nuclear deal in violation of the Resolution 2231.

In the middle of May, China and Russia also rejected US plans to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran along with a probable push to trigger a return of all sanctions on Tehran at the UN Security Council.

The “US has no right to extend an arms embargo on Iran, let alone to trigger snapback,” China’s UN mission wrote in a tweet.

“Maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the only right way moving forward,” he added.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov vehemently rejected the plan as a “cynical” measure plunging the UN Security Council into crisis.

“The conclusion is that the next crisis in the UN Security Council and the UN as a whole is imminent, taking into account this US stubbornness,” he said, adding, “Washington will not have an easy road here in any case.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that the US has already pulled out of the international nuclear agreement and cannot currently use its former membership of the deal to seek a permanent arms embargo on Tehran.

“The United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, and now they cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement. They withdraw. It’s clear. They withdraw,” Borrell said.

The EU believes that the JCPOA plays a key role in maintaining regional and international security and has made efforts to keep the pact alive despite US pressure.

Borrell is tasked with supervising the circumstances surrounding the implementation of the nuclear deal so he can help resolve disputes between its signatories.

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