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Iran Defiant AS European JCPOA Members Refuse To Support US Move To Return UN Sanctions

United Nations Security Council members vote on the Iran resolution at the UN headquarters in New York on July 20, 2015.

Reactions from Iran have ranged from defiant to gleeful as Britain, France and Germany, the three European partners to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, refused to support the United States move to reactivate all previous United Nations sanctions against Iran.

Speaking at the UN headquarters, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the three European nations of "siding with the Ayatollahs." Pompeo accused Iran of non-compliance with the nuclear deal, claiming, "No country but the United States has had the courage and conviction to put forward a resolution."

The debate comes one week after the UN Security Council rejected a US-sponsored resolution to extend the arms embargo against Iran, which the U.S. responded to by advocating for restoring UN sanctions against Iran.

Almost immediately after the United States started the procedure to activate the snapback option in the nuclear deal also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released a factsheet saying that "the US attempt move to re-impose UN sanctions on Iran" were in fact "illegitimate and felonious."

“The term 'snapback' is never employed in the JCPOA or the UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” Zarif said, adding that "the United States explicitly terminated its partnership in the JCPOA and abrogated any right to the Dispute Resolution Mechanism."

Referring to Iran and the United States' commitment to the JCPOA, Zarif concluded that the US’ actions were “inadmissible."

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi tweeted about the US move to return UN sanctions against Iran. "US notification is incapable of having legal effect,” he wrote. “It is null and void. None of the remaining JCPOA participants considers the notification as effective. We trust the SC will not permit the US to abuse Res 2231 to achieve its stated objective of destroying that very resolution."

In another take, Nezameddin Mousavi, the hardliner Iranian lawmaker and editor of IRGC-linked newspaper Javan, wrote in a tweet, "America is no longer a member of the JCPOA. It could have reactivated the trigger mechanism if it remained in the nuclear deal. This is how the JCPOA works!"

In an additional news conference at the UN headquarters, Iran's UN envoy Majid Takht Ravanchi said he was sure the United States would not be able to restore the sanctions on Iran and that its mission will be defeated.

"Security Council will reject the U.S. move because it violates international law, “has not enjoyed the political support" of council members, “and is definitely doomed to failure,” Ravanchi said.

Some Iranian social media users argued out that Russia and China, two countries that also opposed the U.S. proposition, are not actually Iran's allies or supporters, but rather use Iran as a pawn in their political games against the U.S.

Iranian analyst Hossein Aghaie opined in a tweet that the next 75 days before the US election could prove volatile no matter how successful the United States can be in returning the sanctions.

Ali Hossein Ghazizadeh, another Iran analyst, said in a tweet in anticipation of Pompeo’s UN speech, "Within hours, the US will activate the trigger mechanism. Then the US can justify resorting to force in order to enforce any sanction. Russia and China will nag a bit but and watch."

The trigger mechanism is a part of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which gives participating countries the power to claim that Iran has not fulfilled its obligations and re-activate previous UN sanctions against Iran.

Iran has argued over the past months that the U.S, which pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018, is no longer a participating country, while Pompeo has argued that the U.S. is entitled to call for activating the trigger mechanism as a signatory to the nuclear agreement.