Countdown to UN sanctions on Iran over nuclear deal

Washington's European allies have tried to keep the nuclear agreement from collapsing since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it in 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Countdown to UN sanctions on Iran over nuclear deal

  • France, Britain and Germany formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

JEDDAH: The clock began ticking on Tuesday for the restoration of full UN sanctions against Iran for breaching the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program.
France, Britain and Germany formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the strongest step the Europeans have taken to enforce the agreement.
US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, since when Iran has gradually broken its pledges to scale back nuclear activities, culminating on Jan. 6 when it scrapped all limits on enriching uranium.
“We do not accept Iran’s argument that it is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPOA,” the three countries said on Tuesday. “We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions.”
They formally notified the EU, the guarantor of the agreement, that the dispute mechanism should begin. “At some point we have to show our credibility,” a European diplomat said.
The dispute process begins with a 30-day discussion period. If the complaint about Iran’s behavior remains unresolved, it is referred to the UN Security Council. After a further 30 days, sanctions from all previous UN resolutions will be reimposed unless the Security Council votes otherwise, which is unlikely.
The three European countries acted because they had “finally given in to the reality of US sanctions,” the security analyst Dr. Theodore Karasik told Arab News. “The dispute resolution mechanism leads directly back to UN sanctions, and ensures the end of the JCPOA so that a new process can start when Iran behaves like a normal country.
“The move may prompt Iran to leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether, which would add further evidence of Tehran’s intent,” said Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC.
Iran “never had the intention to stick to the already flawed nuclear deal to begin with,” said Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, a Washington lobby group.
“The EU should follow the logical US stance by putting maximum pressure and full sanctions on Iran until they get back to the table and behave like a normal nation state.”


Israeli security agency says it arrested alleged Iran spy

Updated 46 min 34 sec ago

Israeli security agency says it arrested alleged Iran spy

  • The Shin Bet alleged in a statement the man was in contact with Iranian agents abroad, where he was given money, guidance and encryption tools
  • Israel and Iran are bitter enemies who have long fought a shadow war that over the last year has increasingly spilled out into the open

JERUSALEM: Israel’s domestic security agency said Tuesday it arrested an Israeli citizen alleged to have spied for Iran.
The Shin Bet alleged in a statement the man was in contact with Iranian agents abroad, where he was given money, guidance and encryption tools.
The Shin Bet said the man was expected to provide information on strategic Israeli sites, ways to promote division in Israeli society, carry out attacks against Israeli targets and enlist Arab citizens of Israel to assist Iran.
The man, whose identity was barred from publication by an Israeli court, was arrested last month and indicted Tuesday for “serious security-related offenses.”
The Shin Bet said the arrest highlights Iranian efforts “to carry out spy and terror activity within Israel, this also at a time when the world is facing the coronavirus epidemic which has badly spread in Iran.”
Iran is facing the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East. Iran’s state TV said Tuesday the new coronavirus has killed another 133 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,872 amid 62,589 confirmed cases.
Israel and Iran are bitter enemies who have long fought a shadow war that over the last year has increasingly spilled out into the open. And although both countries are occupied with fighting COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus, hostilities between them remain.