How far can denial of reality pay off in diplomacy? On Monday, September 21, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that the United States was not “Not isolated” on the Iranian dossier, by announcing with great fanfare new punitive measures, with questionable practical effects, against the Islamic Republic. The day before, on the conservative news channel Fox News, the American foreign minister announced the return, yet rejected by the overwhelming majority of the members of the Security Council, of all the UN sanctions against Iran. On the threshold of the United Nations General Assembly and a few weeks before the US presidential election, the maximum pressure from Washington against Iran, one of the major diplomatic causes of Trump’s first term, comes up against a united front involving allies and rivals from Washington.
This diplomatic campaign, which was supposed to be dazzling, ended up getting bogged down. While they left, more than two years ago, the nuclear agreement (JCPoA) signed by Iran and the great powers in 2015, the United States has been taking advantage for months, through the voice of Mr. Pompeo, for having remained part of this pact despite everything. This quality allows them, by means of a device called “Snapback”, to call at any time for the return of the UN sanctions against Iran suspended by the agreement. In American logic, it is officially a question of palliating the lifting of the embargo on conventional arms that the JCPoA plans for October 18 and, secondly, of destroying what remains of the 2015 agreement.
Thirty days after having notified, in the heart of the summer, the initiation of this mechanism, and in accordance with the deadline, the American Secretary of State thus proclaimed, on Saturday, that the snapback had been triggered and that the UN sanctions targeting Tehran were therefore back. In this ” parallel world ” mocked by observers in favor of the nuclear deal, Mr. Pompeo, despite Israeli support, was on his own. For weeks, the other members of the Security Council have joined forces to deny Washington, which denounced the 2015 pact, any legitimacy to trigger the snapback.
“It is painful to see a great country humiliate itself in this way and stand in its stubborn delirium against other members of the Security Council,” Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said on Twitter on Sunday. On the same platform, the Chinese mission judged the US announcement on the return of sanctions “Devoid of legal, political or concrete effect”. France, Germany and the UK, the so-called “E3” countries, signatories to the nuclear deal and pushing ahead on the Iran file, have said that US actions are “Without effect in law”.
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