Iran nuclear deal gets UN endorsement, paving way for sanctions relief
The nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and six world powers was unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council on Monday. According to the resolution, sanctions will be lifted over the next 10 years should Tehran adhere to the agreement.
Sanctions will be partly eased on Iran after an IAEA report proving that Tehran stays true to its nuclear commitments is received by the UN council, the resolution says, according to TASS. Provided the Vienna accord is honored for 10 years, the UN will close its Iran file.
A mechanism for re-establishing previous penalties should Iran break the deal has also been introduced by UN. According to the resolution's draft, only one of UN's five permanent members would need to use its veto powers to demand that the sanctions are back in force under a so-called ‘snapback’ provision, AFP reported.
UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA is in charge of the necessary verification and monitoring of Tehran's commitments, with Iran obliged to cooperate fully with the agency.
In terms of weapons supply to Iran, the resolution allows for supply of ballistic missile technology and heavy weapons, including tanks and attack helicopters, with Security Council approval, Reuters reported; the US has pledged to veto such requests. But the restrictions will be in place for a while: eight years for ballistic missile technology, five years on heavy weapons and an arms embargo on conventional weapons for five years. A decade-long restriction on the transfer to Iran of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is also in place.
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The deal would make the world "safer and more secure," US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said. But she added that America's "concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about instability Iran fuels" remains in place. The accusations were rejected by Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo, who told the council that "the country that invaded two countries in our region and created favorable grounds for the growth of terrorism and extremism is not well placed to raise such accusations."
"We expect that all countries will adapt to the new conditions, and will provide assistance in successful implementation of the agreement," Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said at the council's Monday meeting, as quoted by Interfax.
The international community's work on the Iran nuclear deal has proven its ability to solve the most complicated issues, "if there is a political will... and respect for legal interests of one another," the UN envoy said. Russia would like this joint successful experience to be used in working on other crisis situations too, Churkin added.
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Monday’s resolution was labeled as unacceptable for Tehran by one senior Iranian official, Reuters reported.
"Some parts of the draft have clearly crossed the Islamic Republic's red lines, especially in Iran's military capabilities. We will never accept it," Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Mohammed Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency, shortly before the resolution was passed in New York.
The Monday UN vote was said to be a formality, with the council's five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US) plus Germany having hard worked on the deal signed in Vienna, as well as having been behind the draft of the resolution.
READ MORE: Skeptics, snapbacks & Netanyahu: How Iran nuclear deal could still be derailed
Further approval is still ahead for the Iran nuclear deal, with the agreement still needing to be cleared by the US Congress in a September vote. Many of the House’s members, especially the Republican majority, have expressed their opposition to the internationally-reached accord.
With a number of American lawmakers already against the deal, others are believed to be further lobbied against it by Israel, which has been openly and loudly against Tehran's nuclear program for years. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been campaigning against negotiating with Iran for months - also having attended a US Congress joint session without White House approval - said Israel was not bound by the accord.
“The UN Security Council resolution isn't the last word,” Netanyahu said during a Likud faction meeting in Jerusalem, Haaretz reported. “Iran would have to make concessions” if sanctions imposed by the US Congress remain in effect, the Israeli PM said.
“History has proved that even if the world is united in its opinion, it isn't always right,” Netanyahu said ahead of the Monday UN meeting, adding that the expected Security Council resolution was “hypocritical,” according to Haaretz.