Britain, France and Germany say UN sanctions relief for Iran to continue

E3 envoys say they are working ‘tirelessly’ to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers

(FILES) In this file photo the United Nations logo is seen at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, 2019. The UN Security Council on September 10, 2020 called on all member states to do more to protect schools from outside violence, in a unanimous statement sponsored by Niger and Belgium. The 15 members say schools should be "spaces free from all forms of violence," lamenting an uptick in attacks on schools in recent years, leading to an "alarming number of children denied access to quality education."According to the United Nations, from 2015 to 2019, about 11,000 armed attacks targeting education in some way took place worldwide.
 / AFP / Angela Weiss

Britain, France and Germany told the UN Security Council on Friday that UN sanctions relief for Iran - agreed under a 2015 nuclear deal - would continue beyond September 20, when the United States asserts that all the measures should be reimposed.

In a letter to the 15-member body, seen by Reuters, the three European parties to the nuclear deal and long-time US allies said any decision or action taken to reintroduce UN sanctions "would be incapable of legal effect". The United States quit the nuclear deal in 2018.

"We have worked tirelessly to preserve the nuclear agreement and remain committed to do so," said the UN envoys for Britain, France and Germany, adding that they remain committed to "fully implementing" a 2015 Security Council resolution that enshrines the pact, which also included Russia and China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that he triggered a 30-day process at the Security Council leading to a return of UN sanctions on Iran on Saturday night that would also prevent a conventional arms embargo on Tehran from expiring on October 18.

But 13 of the Security Council members say Washington's move is void because it is no longer a party to the nuclear deal. The United States say it can make the move because the 2015 Security Council resolution still names it as a participant.

Diplomats say few countries are likely to reimpose the measures, which were lifted under the deal that aimed to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons.

US President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order in the coming days allowing him to impose US sanctions on anyone who violates the UN arms embargo on Iran, sources have told Reuters, in a bid to reinforce the US assertion that the measure has been extended indefinitely beyond October 18.