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EU Says US Is Not Entitled To Use JCPOA 'Snapback' Option

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. July 13, 2020

The European Union announced Sunday that the United States is not entitled to force the reinstatement of international sanctions on Iran via the so-called “snapback” mechanism stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal.

A day earlier, President Donald Trump told reporters that Washington will pursue the “snapback” option in the coming week, after the U.S. lost a bid at the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran.

Washington and its allies in the region are concerned that if the UN arms embargo ends in October according to a 2015 resolution, Iran will be free to buy and sell weapons. They insist this will be “destabilizing” for the region and harmful to peace.

Tehran says the 2015 deadline must be respected and the U.S. has no right to interfere since it has withdrawn from the 2015 agreement. China and Russia back Iran, while the EU refused to back the extension of the arms embargo this week.

The spokesperson of the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says given that the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and has not participated in any JCPOA structures or activities subsequently, the U.S. cannot be considered as a JCPOA participant. "We therefore consider that the U.S. is not in a position to resort to mechanisms reserved for JCPOA participants (such as the so-called snapback)," according to German news agency DPA.

Observers were expecting some backing by the EU for the U.S. position, but it appears Western allies are not backing president Trump less than three months before elections.