What it means that U.S. has invoked ‘snapback’ provision of UN Res. 2231 for Iran sanctions

What it means that U.S. has invoked ‘snapback’ provision of UN Res. 2231 for Iran sanctions

[Ed. – This Fox News piece articulates the U.S. view that as a Perm-5 UN Security Council party to 2231, we have the right to invoke snapback under the UNSCR.  The view advanced by the others in the Perm-5 is that only JCPOA participants still in good standing can invoke the snapback.  It’s a standoff.  If the UNSC accepts the U.S. move as actionable, it has 30 days to come up with a plan the U.S. won’t veto.  The other Perm-5 could also decide to let the U.S. snapback happen, but not comply with its terms.  Either way, however, Trump has signaled that the U.S. will clamp down on Iran sanctions — which will affect anyone dealing in arms with Iran — after 18 October 2020, the effective snapback date.]

While Russia, China and other members of the JCPoA are clamoring to look for ways to halt snapback, it would seem they are fighting a losing battle.


UNSCR 2231 endorsed the JCPoA but never mandated members to implement it. It does, however, mandate restrictions on Iran for a limited period of time and mandates the snapback to prevent those restrictions from expiring if Iran misbehaves. …

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You need to modify Security Council resolutions to modify international restrictions. And so the Security Council obliged the request to help the parties get a deal, but it built in the snapback as an institutional guarantee – because no sideshow political agreement can ever supersede the authority of the Council.

The JCPoA binds the few states that are part of the political agreement while a UNSCR binds all members of the U.N.

The U.S. may have lost its rights to use the mechanisms of the JCPoA political agreement but … permanent member rights granted by a binding Security Council resolution … [supersede] the JCPoA’s authority.

Snapback will restore prior Security Council resolutions on Iran so that all the long-term restrictions, like the arms embargo, remain in place indefinitely.

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