The US set off on a risky diplomatic gambit last Thursday, triggering “snapback sanctions” on Iran, a week after losing a UN Security Council vote to renew the 2007 arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited “incontestable” evidence that Tehran has violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran is known. Those include enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% limit listed in the agreement, accumulating a stockpile of over 300 kg. of low-enriched uranium and more heavy water than permitted and restarting enrichment at the Fordow plant. Plus, Iran has blocked International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from visiting suspected nuclear sites.
The JCPOA agreement allows for sanctions that would be alleviated in accordance with a number of “sunset” clauses to be reinstated if there is “significant non-performance of commitments” by Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the US for the move, calling it “the right decision” to counter the “fatal flaw” in the JCPOA, “the so-called sunset clauses. I urged the P5+1 not to agree to a framework which automatically lifts the restrictions on Iran and the sanctions on the regime’s import and export of armaments, its missile program and its nuclear activities.