Under the Iranian nuclear deal, the UN Security Council endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by voting Resolution 2231(2015). According to Paragraph 11, any one of the participants States, in case of “significant non-performance” by one of the agreement’s other parties, can initiate the process of re-imposition (snapback) of six Security Council resolutions enacted against Iran between 2006 and 2010. The 2015 sanctions were to expire automatically according to an agreed schedule. In fact, Resolution 2231 terminated the effect of past resolutions by establishing expiration dates for them. Indeed, limitation on Iran’s arms transfer expired in 2020, restrictions on drone-and missile-related transfer will expire next October 2023 along with the resolution’s list of entities still subject to an asset freeze. In 2025, the two remaining resolutions will expire as well: restrictions on nuclear-related transfers and the snapback mechanism itself. The recent involvement of Iran in the Ukrainian conflict by supplying drones to Russia is pushing Western States to trigger the snapback mechanism on Iran. What are the consequences of triggering the snapback procedure? Is there a risk of escalatory reactions such as the Iranian withdrawal from the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and enrichment of more uranium to produce nuclear weapons, which can result in recourse to the use of force by the US?

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