Failing to Bring Iran to Its Knees Zarif Tells Pompeo to Stop Dreaming About Return to JCPOA

The Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran nuclear deal in 2018, forcing the deal’s remaining signatories to scramble to try to save it. On Sunday, US media reported that Secretary of State Pompeo was preparing to argue that Washington was actually still a party to the agreement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the US secretary of state “stop dreaming” amid reports that the US was planning to make the convoluted legal case to the UN that Washington was still part of the JCPOA for the purposes of applying new sanctions against Iran.

“2 years ago, @SecPompeo and his bossed declared ‘CEASING US participation’ in the JCPOA, dreaming that their ‘maximum pressure’ would bring Iran to its knees. Given that policy’s abject failure, he now wants to be a JCPOA participant. Stop dreaming: the Iranian Nation always decides its destiny,” Zarif tweeted, accompanying his post with screenshots of US documents confirming America’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.

The Iranian foreign minister’s comments come following reports by the New York Times and Fox News citing sources on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was planning to argue that the US was still a party to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as part of Washington’s ongoing bid to extend the UN Security Council arms embargo against the nation, and to restore international sanctions against Tehran.

Pompeo confirmed to the NYT that the state department was “prepared to exercise all of our diplomatic options to ensure the arms embargo stays in place at the UN Security Council”.

The secretary of state ramped up Washington’s lobbying of the Security Council on Sunday, alleging that Iran’s latest satellite launch constituted a violation of Resolution 2231, the UN document which authorized the JCPOA in 2015. Zarif responded to Pompeo’s claims, suggesting that the US and its EU allies have no right to “lecture” the Islamic Republic on its space and missile programme, and reiterating that Iran “neither has [nuclear weapons] nor missiles designed to be capable of carrying such horrific arms.”

The Trump administration unilaterally scrapped its commitment to the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 following intense lobbying by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. After withdrawing, Washington slapped Tehran with tough banking and energy sanctions, with Iran calling on the deal’s European signatories to come up with a package of measures to soften the economic blow caused by US actions. Amid Europe’s failure to do so, Iran has gradually reneged on some of the nuclear deal’s provisions, including limitations on levels of uranium enrichment. The Islamic Republic has stressed however that it has no intention to pursue either nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction.

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