The EU foreign policy chief told reporters Tuesday after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, that the United States cannot use its former membership in the 2015 nuclear agreement, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to extend an arms embargo on Iran. The U.N. embargo expires in October.
“The United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, and now they cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement,” Borrell said.
Borrell also said Tuesday that the European Union does not seek confrontation with China.
In late April, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he plans to use the country’s former membership in the Iran nuclear deal to extend an arms embargo on Iran after U.N. sanctions expire in October.
The arms embargo has been in place since 2006 through a U.N. Security Council resolution, and in 2015, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution endorsing the JCPOA. The nuclear agreement lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States unilaterally pulled out of the deal in 2018 with President Donald Trump calling it “defective at its core,” and reimposed sanctions against Iran. In response, Iran restarted nuclear activities banned under the agreement with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The United States has recently launched a campaign to renew the arms ban through a resolution at the Security Council.
To pass, the resolution needs not only the approval of nine Security Council members, but also Russia and China not to veto it, Mehr News Agency reported.
With the possibility that Russia and China could veto it, the United States has said it could circumvent their veto by arguing it remains in the nuclear pact as a “participant state.”
EU officials have maintained the JCPOA is critical in maintaining regional and international security.
Similar to Borrell, Tehran says that the United States lost its right to use its membership in the nuclear deal to push for an extension of arms embargo since it pulled out of the deal.
Russian’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agrees that the United States lost its right to have a say in the agreement when it withdrew from the deal.
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