IRAN’S Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defiantly addressed reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the Iranian cabinet in Tehran on August 12, 2020.
Iran is firmly confident that a US resolution seeking to extend the arms embargo against the Islamic Republic indefinitely will not be adopted by the UN Security Council, and that Washington has no legal right to invoke a ‘snapback’ mechanism to reinstate sanctions against Tehran under the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, which the US left unilaterally in 2018.
‘Legally speaking, the United States is in no position to use the snapback mechanism,’ Zarif pointed out.
‘The three European allies of the United States also explicitly stated at a previous meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) that the US cannot use this mechanism.’
Iran’s foreign minister, said the US is ‘maliciously’ working to destroy the United Nations itself, by using the world body to step up its ‘illegal push’ at the UNSC to secure the extension of the arms ban on Tehran – currently due to run out this coming October 18.
Zarif also referred to a recent letter to the UN sent by the six-member Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – backing up the US plan to seek an extension of the arms embargo against Iran.
Qatar has already distanced itself from the GCC’s position.
Regarding the US efforts to convene a Security Council meeting Zarif said the Americans had been consulting with the whole world on a ‘very long, sharp-worded and far-fetched’ resolution for about three months.
The Americans had done their best, he said, and even travelled to various countries at the highest levels of the State Department, including the secretary of state Mike Pompeo himself, during the coronavirus outbreak – but had failed to garner support for the resolution.
Zarif also pointed to a purportedly ‘watered down’ new resolution by the US, which is said to comprise just a few terse paragraphs in place of the earlier 13-page hardline draft.
The so-called ‘watered-down draft resolution’, said the Iranians, ‘put forward by the US to extend the UN arms embargo on Tehran, is similar in nature to the previous version.
Zarif said the US administration has no respect for ‘the intelligence of others’, and thinks that if they change an article from five pages to five lines, members of the Security Council would then believe the article’s content had changed.
‘This resolution will not secure the votes, and even the number of votes will be very small. It is almost certain that we will not see a new resolution,’ Zarif added.
He also accused the US of working ‘maliciously’ to destroy the United Nations using the world body itself.’
He said that in the days leading up to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton – the architect and engineer of the US withdrawal from the agreement – explicitly said his country had left the Accord and thus had no right to use the snapback mechanism.
‘If the United States makes the snapback work, the move is devoid of any legal value, and any result from this snapback will be deemed worthless and will have no effect in the eyes of anyone,’ Zarif said as that part of the JCPOA has been endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231.
Despite the changes in the new US resolution UN Security Council members are still expected to reject it.
‘If the goal is still an indefinite extension of the embargo without any other concessions to Tehran, I still think China and Russia will veto this,’ admitted Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group.
Russia and China are two of the Security Council’s five permanent members who both have veto rights, and are among the remaining parties to the JCPOA. The resolution needs support from nine of 15 votes to pass.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to trigger the so-called snapback provisions of the 2015 nuclear deal if it cannot secure an arms embargo extension.
Since leaving the JCPOA, the US has been resorting to a maximum pressure campaign against Iran by reinstating its sanctions and persuading others to follow.
The Iranian foreign minister’s remarks on Wednesday echoed those of President Hassan Rouhani, who said earlier that the US will most likely fail in its push to extend the UN arms embargo on Tehran and will face isolation at the Security Council.
‘We have high hopes that the United States will be defeated and will witness its own isolation,’ Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting.
‘Our position is clear in all circumstances,’ he said, and if such a resolution is passed against part of UNSC Resolution 2231, it means a gross violation of the JCPOA, and those advocating this violation and working to make it happen will be responsible for the consequences.’
Rouhani urged neighbouring countries not to let Washington ‘exploit’ them to advance its own agenda.
- The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz were the scene of the Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Great Prophet 14 wargames last week, during which ballistic missiles buried deep into the ground were fired to surprise world weapons manufacturers.
‘In these exercises, in addition to various international dimensions and special messages for foreigners, specially trans-regional enemies who have been illegally deployed in the Persian Gulf region for many years, new defence achievements were demonstrated, especially in the area of Iran’s missile technology,’ said an IRGC statement.
Meanwhile, significant increases in the level of new defence technologies and weapons were also on display, they added.
Among these, was a very high velocity anti-radar ballistic missile – much faster than previously seen – which makes it impossible to intercept and target ballistic missiles by any defence shield – the missiles themselves have already been unveiled though, but not the method of delivery.
But the most important and unique defence achievement displayed in these drills, which ‘astonished many experts and international observers’, was the firing of ballistic missiles buried deep underground.
This new ‘capsuled’ technology is unique to Iran, and is completely different from earlier versions of underground ballistic missiles which are fired from underground silos and are owned by a few countries in the world.
In addition to underground missile towns and mobile launchers, this was the IRGC’s third tactical move to confuse enemy reconnaissance aircraft; the first two tactics made it hard for enemy aircraft to site and target missile platforms and launchers, but this new weapons system disarms the enemy because it is buried and impossible to trace by enemy aircraft.
Of course, studies showed that the US in the 1980s had a conceptual plan to fire the LGM-118 Continental Ballistic Missile named Peacekeeper from underground with a different mechanism but the conceptual design (totally different from IRGC’s system) was never put into practice.
The LGM-118 and its launcher were designed to be hidden in camouflage in a few centimetres-thick layer of soil, and, once the command was given to fire, it would take some time for the launch and missile system to get ready, giving enemy aircraft or forces a chance to site the system.
Although even this conceptual design never came into effect, it is still is completely different from the technology and features of the new Iranian buried ballistic missiles.