00:24 GMT05 August 2020
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    Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, an accord promising Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. The US pulled out of the deal in 2018 and reintroduced severe energy and banking sanctions against Tehran.

    The anniversary of the signing of the JCPOA is a “reminder” that the US’s “lawless behaviour should not be the yardstick by which international norms are measured,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tweeted.

    The tweet was accompanied by screenshots of the news headlines of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from a series of agreements and international organisations over the years, ranging from the Paris Agreement on climate change to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, and the Iran nuclear deal, as well as US membership in the World Health Organisation.

    “US contempt for law and diplomacy places it in global disrepute and threatens global – and US – security,” Zarif suggested.

    Zarif’s tweet’s followed remarks by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Tuesday pledging that Brussels would “do everything possible” to try to save the nuclear deal, and praising it as a “historic multilateral achievement for global nuclear non-proliferation”.

    Landmark Nonproliferation Deal

    The JCPOA was signed by Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union, on 14 July 2015, and later endorsed by the UN Security Council, which promised sanctions relief, including the lifting of the UN arms embargo against Tehran in five years’ time.

    The Trump administration pulled out of the agreement in May 2018 following successful lobbying from Israel, and reintroduced tough sanctions against Iran. Iran has since accused the JCPOA’s European signatories of failing to do enough to allow the Islamic Republic to bypass US sanctions, and in May 2019 began stepping back from some of its voluntary commitments under the agreement.

    Earlier this year, the US began making a push to extend the arms embargo past its October deadline, prompting Iran to accuse Washington of trying to “bully” others into violating the JCPOA.

    For the purposes of extending the embargo, the US has made the legal case that it effectively remains a party to the nuclear deal. Zarif has criticised Washington over its logic on the issue, quipping that it was “not unexpected of those advising people to drink or inject disinfectants to fight the coronavirus to come forward and say they are still a party to the agreement after officially leaving it.”

    Other Security Council members, including Russia, China, and even US allies France and Germany, have hinted that they would not support the US’s bid to extend the arms embargo.

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