'Snapback' of UN sanctions on Iran seems inevitable

Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)
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Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)

Report on Supply Chain Compliance 3, no. 21 (October 29, 2020)

The United States announced a “snapback[1] of United Nations (UN) sanctions on Iran due to Iran’s alleged noncompliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). Although many nations “ignored[2] the U.S. call for a snapback, the reality of the situation is that the snapback seems legally inevitable.

The reimposition of sanctions was negotiated under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which was tabled after the JCPoA was signed but revived after the U.S. withdrew from the agreement with Iran in 2018. According to international law and UN procedural regulations, the UNSCR supersedes the JCPoA.[3] All UN members are covered by UNSCR 2231, whereas only the signatories are covered to the JCPoA. The snapback itself was negotiated such that members are basically not allowed to veto it; the possibility remains that the U.S. claims sanctions have snapped back while the rest of the world believes nothing of the sort.

The results are more uncertainty and more erosion of U.S. international standing, as well as increased suffering for the Iranian people with no end in sight.

1 Francesco Fontemaggi and Peter Hutchison, “What is ‘snapback’? US’ Iran sanctions move explained,” Yahoo! News, August 19, 2020, https://yhoo.it/37yQmPs.
2 “U.S. says Iran sanctions back on, but the world is ignoring Washington,” CBS News, last updated September 21, 2020, https://cbsn.ws/32Y3nPB.
3 Ben Evansky and Adam Shaw, “Trump administration to trigger ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions on Iran: What does it mean?” Fox News, August 20, 2020, https://fxn.ws/31tTCrm.

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