One day after the Iran nuclear deal was struck in Vienna, Iranfrontpage.com covered reactions by as many as 43 Iranian newspapers to the July 14 landmark deal, highlighting the negative reaction of the Kayhan daily to the agreement. [See “A look at Iranian newspaper front pages one day after the nuclear deal”]
On July 15, Kayhan published two [diametrically opposite] interpretations of Presidents Rouhani and Obama of the deal. Five days later, the principlist daily in its July 20 issue published an editorial by Hossein Shariatmadari, its managing editor, critiquing the provisions of the nuclear deal and its annexes, the ways through which sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council will be lifted and a [so-called snapback] mechanism which will restore Iran’s sanctions [if it violates the terms of the deal].
Shariatmadari led off his analytical piece, The wool they wove in Geneva and pulled over Iran’s eyes in Vienna, with several lines in defense of the daily’s first reaction to the nuclear deal and said, “[…] Kayhan’s reservations about the nuclear deal and its reference to parts of the deal which had ignored Iran’s red lines met with strong opposition. In some cases, the opponents even used foul language to express their opposition.
“A number of friends too advised Kayhan – out of compassion, not out of spite or partiality – to stop expressing doubts about or objection to the nuclear deal, arguing that the text of the deal and its details have been seen and fully approved of by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and that the Supreme Leader’s praise and gratitude for the nuclear team is further proof of the Leader’s endorsement of the nuclear deal!
“Kayhan’s response: the Supreme Leader’s appreciation is indicative of the honest and day-and-night efforts of the esteemed negotiating team, something which cannot be denied by any fair and freethinking individual. No matter what the [outcome of the] deal is, the endeavors and self-denial of the country’s nuclear team is praiseworthy.
“But the Supreme Leader has offered separate yardsticks – which are definable in the very red lines set [for the country’s nuclear dispute] – to assess the nuclear deal and tell its good points apart from the bad ones. It is downright impossible for the Leader to approve of a deal which oversteps the declared red lines.
“After remarks by the Supreme Leader that the content of the nuclear deal should be carefully reviewed, it became clear that his focus on the need for a meticulous examination of the text of the nuclear deal would have been unnecessary if he had agreed to the deal already.”
Shariatmadari then touched upon the core issue of his critique: a resolution which is expected to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council. [The council has since unanimously voted for that resolution.] After a painstaking analysis of the previous resolutions issued under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the managing editor, wrote, “The [Iran nuclear deal or] Vienna document […] will become legally binding after the UN Security Council issues a resolution to endorse the Iran nuclear deal. Afterward, any review of its provisions by the Islamic Consultative Assembly or the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) – during a two-week grace period – will have the least impact on the deal’s approval or disapproval.
“In other words, if the Iranian parliament or the SNSC review the text of the deal and conclude that parts of it run counter to Iran’s national interests or that the deal has failed to respect the red lines defined by Iran, their decision will simply deserve to go down in history, unfortunately; and it [the outcome of the review] can do nothing to alter the text so that it can meet the demands and honor the policies of Islamic Iran. […]
“The Islamic Republic of Iran had rejected the previous UN Security Council resolutions as illegal, making a convincing and documented case for its dismissal [of the resolutions]. The fact is that Iran has accepted the recent resolution [on the Iran nuclear deal]. It brings us to the conclusion that – unlike what some assume – the previously released resolutions are not nullified, rather they remain in place as part of this most recent resolution. The point is that Iran has so far rejected the resolutions as illegal, but has put its seal of approval on the new resolution describing it legally binding!”
“Article 11 of the draft UN Security Council resolution on Iran’s nuclear activity says that if one of the parties to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] believes that the commitments agreed on in the Vienna agreement or part of them have not been implemented, the UN Security Council has 30 days to vote on that [non-compliance of a JCPOA participant]. If the Council finds the measure by that JCPOA participant (read Iran) in violation of its commitments, it can cancel the implementation of paragraph A of Article 7.
“This paragraph focuses on the removal of the previous UN Security Council resolutions against Iran’s nuclear program, and it [the cancellation of the implementation of Paragraph A] means the previous [anti-Iran] resolutions will be back in effect. [Article 11 decides, acting under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, that, within 30 days of receiving a notification by a JCPOA participant State of an issue that the JCPOA participant State believes constitutes significant non-performance of commitments under the JCPOA, it shall vote on a draft resolution to continue in effect the terminations in paragraph 7(a) of this resolution, …]
“In other words, Article 11 says that if one member State of P5+1 believes that Iran has failed to abide by its commitments or has failed to implement part of its commitments, the Security Council will put to a vote the continuation of removal of the previous resolutions in 30 days, and if this [the continued revival of the previous resolutions] is voted down, under Article 12 of the new resolution all sanctions imposed [on Iran] as a result of the previous sanctions will once again become legally binding without passing the Council – pay close attention to this part.
[Article 12 decides, acting under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, that, if the Security Council does not adopt a resolution under paragraph 11 to continue in effect the terminations in paragraph 7(a), then effective midnight Greenwich Mean Time after the thirtieth day after the notification to the Security Council described in paragraph 11, all of the provisions of resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), and 1929 (2010) that have been terminated pursuant to paragraph 7(a) shall apply in the same manner as they applied before the adoption of this resolution, and the measures contained in paragraphs 7, 8 and 16 to 20 of this resolution shall be terminated, unless the Security Council decides otherwise;]
“Now take heed of another point which is the ultimate in deception and gamesmanship by the rival [the other side]! The point is that the voting [at the Security Council] does not need the approval of the majority of Council members; five permanent members of the Council – namely the US, Britain, France, China and Russia – hold veto power, and if one of them calls for the revival of the previous resolutions, that will be enough.
“In this case, if other Security Council members hold an opposite view calling for non-revival of the previous resolutions, this will do little to prevent the previous resolutions from snapping back into place, because their demand will be vetoed by the one vote in favor of the revival of previous resolutions. So, their demand will be ineffective”.
At the end, Shariatmadari concluded that the adoption of a resolution whose draft has been pieced together by the US administration and submitted to the UN can create numerous problems for Iran. He said, “[…] It is proposed that the Islamic Republic of Iran officially announce its opposition to the draft UN Security Council resolution [on Iran] and call for changing parts of the draft, including Articles 11, 12 and Annex B. [(S/2015/XXX, as attached as Annex B to this resolution)]
“Since the passage of the recent resolution under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter will make the text of the nuclear deal legally binding, it is expected that the Islamic Republic of Iran announce its final decision on the deal after the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Supreme National Security Council put out the results of their careful reviews of the deal. In addition to this expectation which is legal, vital and urgent, Iran is also expected to invite outstanding lawyers and experts for its review of the deal”.