Countdown to UN sanctions on Iran over nuclear deal

Washington's European allies have tried to keep the nuclear agreement from collapsing since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it in 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Countdown to UN sanctions on Iran over nuclear deal

  • France, Britain and Germany formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

JEDDAH: The clock began ticking on Tuesday for the restoration of full UN sanctions against Iran for breaching the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program.
France, Britain and Germany formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the strongest step the Europeans have taken to enforce the agreement.
US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, since when Iran has gradually broken its pledges to scale back nuclear activities, culminating on Jan. 6 when it scrapped all limits on enriching uranium.
“We do not accept Iran’s argument that it is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPOA,” the three countries said on Tuesday. “We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions.”
They formally notified the EU, the guarantor of the agreement, that the dispute mechanism should begin. “At some point we have to show our credibility,” a European diplomat said.
The dispute process begins with a 30-day discussion period. If the complaint about Iran’s behavior remains unresolved, it is referred to the UN Security Council. After a further 30 days, sanctions from all previous UN resolutions will be reimposed unless the Security Council votes otherwise, which is unlikely.
The three European countries acted because they had “finally given in to the reality of US sanctions,” the security analyst Dr. Theodore Karasik told Arab News. “The dispute resolution mechanism leads directly back to UN sanctions, and ensures the end of the JCPOA so that a new process can start when Iran behaves like a normal country.
“The move may prompt Iran to leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether, which would add further evidence of Tehran’s intent,” said Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC.
Iran “never had the intention to stick to the already flawed nuclear deal to begin with,” said Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, a Washington lobby group.
“The EU should follow the logical US stance by putting maximum pressure and full sanctions on Iran until they get back to the table and behave like a normal nation state.”


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.