In a joint statement, the E3 said: “The United States of America ceased to be a participant in the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the agreement on 8 May, 2018. Consequently, the notification received from the United States and transmitted to the member states of the [UN] security council, has no legal effect. It follows that any decision or action which would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its outcome have no legal effect.
France, Germany and UK say Washington does not have the authority, setting up clashEuropean leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies.
In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void.
On Saturday, the US moved to reinstate a range of UN sanctions against Iran, saying it had the authority to do so as an original signatory of the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other major powers.
The other signatories claim the US left the JCPOA in 2018 and therefore no longer has a unilateral legal right to either declare Iran in breach of the agreement or to reimpose sanctions in the name of the UN.
The dispute leaves the US at loggerheads with much of the world on whether UN sanctions have been reimposed.
The disagreement is not just a legal wrangle since the Trump administration claims the US now has the authority to act against any country breaching the reimposed sanctions.
The US also claims the scheduled lifting of the UN embargo on arms sales to Iran in October is null and void. There is also a risk that the US will claim it has a new mandate to interdict Iranian shipping, a move that could lead to a naval clash in the Gulf. Read more…