The Biden administration on Thursday rescinded former president Donald Trump’s restoration of UN sanctions on Iran, an announcement that could help Washington move toward rejoining the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at reining in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Acting US Ambassador Richard Mills sent a letter to the UN Security Council on behalf of President Joe Biden saying the United States “hereby withdraws” three letters from the Trump administration culminating in its Sept. 19 announcement that the United States had re-imposed UN sanctions on Tehran.
Mills said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press that sanctions measures terminated in the 2015 council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal with six major powers, but restored by Trump in September, “remain terminated.”
Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in 2018, accusing Iran of serious violations.
Biden has said the United States wants to rejoin the pact and the State Department said Thursday the US would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants in the original agreement — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran.
The Trump administration’s decision to invoke a provision in the 2015 council resolution allowing the “snapback” of sanctions because Iran was in “significant non-performance” with its obligations under the accord was ignored by the rest of the Security Council and the world.
The overwhelming majority of members in the 15-nation council called Trump’s action illegal, because the US was no longer a member of the JCPOA.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations would not support re-imposing sanctions on Iran as the United States was demanding until he got a green light from the Security Council. He said there was “uncertainty” on whether or not former secretary of state Mike Pompeo had triggered the “snapback” mechanism.