Unilateralism wins little support

In a letter to the rotating president of the UN Security Council this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requested the Security Council to initiate the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, aiming to make those sanctions come back into effect in 30 days.

The U.S. has long quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but is still requesting sanctions on Iran according to it, and even threatened to launch unilateral sanctions on whoever opposes.

Such practice is not law-based or reasonable. It is just a political show directed by the White House which has been resisted by the members of the UN Security Council and the international society.

Rotating president of the UN Security Council and Indonesian Ambassador to the UN Dian Triansyah Djani made clear on Aug. 25 that he would not take any action on a purported U.S. notification for a “snapback” mechanism on sanctions against Iran.

The JCPOA is an important achievement of multilateral diplomacy approved by the UN Security Council, an important support for the global system of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and an important part of the international order based on international law.

It was reached in July 2015 between Iran and the U.S., the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany after 10 years of arduous negotiations.

According to the plan, Iran promises to restrict its nuclear plans, and the international society lifts sanctions on the county. Later the UN Security Council adopted the Resolution 2231 to endorse the JCPOA. The resolution stipulates that the ban on the transfer of arms to or from Iran expires from October 18, 2020.

The U.S. has withdrawn from the JCPOA since May 2018, so it is in no position to request a restoration of sanctions on Iran.

It is universally recognized that the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the country’s extreme pressure exerted on Iran are the source of the current tension over the Iranian nuclear issue. Eating its own words and tearing up the plan, the U.S. has already undermined multilateralism, the authority of the UN Security Council and the global system of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Now it is requesting the UN Security Council to restore sanctions as a party concerned, which is ignorant to international justice and the authority of international law. The U.S. is nothing but an unreasonable trouble maker. It only pursues private interests, and uses whatever that suits their interests and abandon whatever that does not. Apart from disobeying the rules itself, it is requesting other countries to join it, and even threatened to place sanctions on them. How ridiculous is that!

The snapback of the U.S. has triggered wide opposition from the international community. Last week, 13 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council had written to the Indonesian presidency to reject the validity of the U.S. request. Russian’s Foreign Ministry called the U.S. request a dangerous and wrong move in a statement, and the British, French and German foreign ministers said in a joint declaration that they would not support unilateral snapback by the U.S.

The voices from the international society once again proves that unilateralism will not be supported, and hegemony will find no way out. Any attempt that places private interests above the common interests of the world will finally fail.

An American media outlet said that the U.S. suffered an embarrassing diplomatic defeat, with even America’s strongest allies refusing to buckle under pressure from the White House to take a harder line. The defeat underscored America’s deepening global isolation on the issue of Iran.

A just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little. The JCPOA is a hard-won result, and the experience in the past 5 years explains that it calls for equal dialogues and frank consultations to solve the issue of Iran, rather than sanctions, pressure, or military threat. Only with multilateralism and diplomatic means can the tension be relieved and regional peace promoted.

The U.S. unilateral and arbitrary “long-arm” sanctions will definitely be condemned by the world.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)