Three GOP senators this week urged President Trump to reject what they describe as Iran’s ‘nuclear blackmail’ in the wake of the rogue nation’s violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement — and highlighted the use of a mechanism in the U.N. resolution enshrining the deal that allows for a “snapback” of sanctions.
“Regime officials have signaled they intend to creep towards a nuclear weapon, while demanding concessions and promising to ‘reverse’ their violations if their demands are met,” Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote in a letter Tuesday. “We urge you to reject their nuclear blackmail.”
Iran recently began stockpiling low-enriched uranium beyond agreed limits, in violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and have warned that more violations could soon be coming.
Given that it was United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 that endorsed the Obama-era deal, the Council could be the site of the next stage in deciding the embattled deal’s fate. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year, having described it as “the worst deal in history,” and the administration has since imposed waves of crippling economic sanctions on Tehran.
The senators urge Trump to invoke the so-called “snapback mechanism” in resolution 2231 that would restore sanctions on Iran’s uranium enrichment and missile development.
And while Security Council diplomats seek to work out how the U.S. will re-impose the sanctions given that it quit the deal last year, the letter from the senators notes that the U.N. resolution enables the original parties to the deal to revoke or snapback at any time.
“Paragraph 10 of the resolution defines the United States as a participant for the purpose of invoking the mechanism. We urge you to do so,” the senators wrote.
The lawmakers also call on the president to cease the use of “civil-nuclear waivers” that they say allows Iran to keep a nuclear status quo.
While the preferred mechanism for disputes in the JCPOA is that they be dealt with by a joint commission of eight members to decide if it goes to the Security Council, Tehran’s threats to enrich uranium mean the process of bringing the snapback mechanism into effect will sooner rather than later be tested.
From 2006 onwards the Council passed six resolutions that imposed severe sanctions on Iran in order to halt its nuclear ambitions by banning Iran from conducting nuclear research and developing ballistic missiles.