Mike Pompeo has a sense of provocation to back up his point. Visiting the United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday, August 20, he accused the Europeans of playing into the hands of “Ayatollahs” from Iran. The head of American diplomacy thus reacted to the categorical and immediate refusal of the Europeans to support his crusade, with a view to reinstating sanctions against Tehran. Mike Pompeo came to the UN to initiate the first stage of a very controversial mechanism. The tone is raised in an exceptional way between American and European diplomats.
Washington has been suggesting it for several months: to protest against repeated violations by Tehran, for a year, of its nuclear obligations, it wishes to activate the “Snapback”, a mechanism provided for under the 2015 agreement – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). This provided for an almost automatic return of UN sanctions should Iran fail to honor its commitments. Among them, the arms embargo and sanctions related to uranium enrichment.
In the absence of a precise protocol in the JCPoA to trigger the “Snapback”, the United States improvised. The foreign minister arrived accompanied by US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft and a number of her cabinet ministers. He first had a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. Then he personally delivered a letter to Indonesian Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, who is presiding over the Security Council this month, notifying the “Iran’s significant non-compliance with its commitments” provided for by the text, the purpose of which was to prevent Tehran from acquiring the atomic bomb.
Prevent any rehabilitation of the JCPoA
The United States withdrew from the deal unilaterally in May 2018, subsequently leading to a gradual escalation on the Iranian side, in the amount of enriched uranium and research and development capabilities. Today, Washington claims to use the mechanism as a signatory country to the Vienna Agreement, invoking resolution 2231: adopted shortly after the JCPoA, it in fact designated all of the initial signatories: United States, European Union, China, Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany and Iran.
But Donald Trump later decided to get his country out of the JCPoA, not having harsh enough words to denounce its shortcomings. As part of his scuttling of the Obama-era multilateral gains, he said he would be able to get a much better deal with the Iranians. Two months before the US presidential election, however, US diplomatic isolation is the main outcome of this chaotic process. Mike Pompeo’s real goal is simple: to prevent any rehabilitation of the JCPoA if Joe Biden wins.
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