Remarks by Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, on the situation around the JCPOA
Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo says he is going to trigger a snapback this afternoon.
A: No, he is not. The US is not triggering a snapback. Snapback can be triggered by a country which is a participant of the JCPOA, which the United States is not. It officially withdrew from the JCPOA. That is the question that every delegation in the Security Council will inevitably face.
Q: Will Russia ignore the US?
A: First we will have to say what we think about it. But we consider snapback as non-existent. We will not take it as a snapback what they presumably notify today the Presidency of the Security Council.
Q: So Russia will not reimpose UN sanctions against Iran, will it?
A: How can Russia reimpose UN sanctions on Iran if Resolution 2231 continues?
Q: Ambassador, will you submit this resolution in the framework of the JCPOA just to prevent this snapback procedure?
A: The procedure of the resolution does not provide for such a thing. We are not going to present any resolution. Whatever resolution is presented by the other side, is considered invalid.
Q: What about a possible crisis in the Security Council?
A: Not yet.
Q: Do you think this situation can influence the general decision-making in the Security Council?
A: In what way? Do you mean that it will change the procedure of the Security Council?
Q: No, I just mean the capability of the Council to discuss all other matters on its agenda.
A: I do not think it will affect the Council’s ability to function normally. But that situation is surely abnormal, because a country is planning (it has not yet done so, as far as I understand) to present a decision that is invalid and illegal. But let’s see. Let’s not speculate before the thing happens.
Q: What is your response to Pompeo’s remarks last night that the United States would impose sanctions on Russia and China?
A: We are here for the international law and for the fair implementation of UNSC resolutions. This question has been asked to our Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. He said that no threats that we hear coming from the United States will change our principle position. We are not alone, I am sure of that.
Q: But is it legal what the US is planning to do?
A: No, of course not. And we will distribute our legal position on the matter where will clearly express what are the deficiencies of this position. We are aware of the memorandum that the United States distributed unofficially. All Council members got acquainted with it. In it the US presented its arguments – why they have the right to do so. We believe these arguments are not valid, and we will provide our arguments why this is so.
Q: Ambassador, what do you think will happens next? After Pompeo does this this afternoon?
A: I will not betray all my secrets, I have already betrayed a few.
Q: Are you going to talk to the Secretary-General about this meeting with Pompeo?
A: The Secretary-General is not part of this procedure.