Triggering JCPOA Snapback Would Isolate US, Hamper Future Diplomacy

August 16, 2020

J Street’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams released the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration may attempt to trigger the JCPOA’s snapback mechanism:

President Trump’s failure to garner more than one other vote for an extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran is an embarrassing but expected capstone to his abrogation of the Iran deal and disastrous “maximum pressure” campaign.

The administration’s sabotaging of diplomacy with Iran has led to a self-inflicted security crisis presenting myriad dangers to the United States and our partners. Iran is no longer fully complying with the agreement that had successfully blocked its pathways to a nuclear weapon and its hardliners are emboldened and operating with a freer hand. US troops in the region have been subjected to bombardment by Iranian missiles and key allies like Israel face increasing threats from Iran and its proxies near their borders. The international consensus achieved during the Obama administration has been shattered to the point that we are unable to find agreement with European allies – let alone Russia and China – to jointly address Iran’s conventional arms activities.

The administration is reportedly contemplating doing even more damage by attempting to trigger the “snapback” mechanism that would reimpose previous multilateral constraints on Iran, including the arms embargo, by formally killing the Iran deal. Such a reckless move would not only significantly escalate the current crisis and further isolate the United States, but make it even more difficult for a new American administration to restore the JCPOA and the prospects for further diplomacy.

It is essential to re-establishing US credibility and the international consensus regarding Iran’s dangerous activities – both nuclear and conventional – for the United States to come back into compliance with the JCPOA alongside Iran. Lawmakers should therefore make clear that they strongly oppose an attempt by the Trump administration to trigger snapback, and instead stand with former Vice President Joe Biden against Trump’ disastrous moves and for diplomatic re-engagement with Iran.

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