NEW YORK (AA): The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution endorsing a deal that placed long-term curbs on Iran’s nuclear program and starts a process to remove UN sanctions against the country.
The unanimously adopted resolution will terminate all previous UN resolutions, imposing stringent sanctions that the country’s leaders say have hurt its economy, once the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Tehran has implemented a series of nuclear-related measures.
However, it contains a “snap-back” mechanism that will reverse the lifting of sanctions during the next decade if Tehran breaches the deal it signed last week with the P5+1 group of countries — China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany.
Speaking after the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the deal, if implemented, “would cut off all pathways to missile material for a nuclear weapon for the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “would make the world safer and more secure”.
But she added that the deal did not alleviate U.S. concerns “about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government, or about the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program – from its support for terrorist proxies, to its repeated threats against Israel, to its other destabilizing activities in the region”.
She said Washington would “continue to invest in the security of our allies in the region and why we will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missiles program and its human rights violations”.
Monday’s resolution keeps in place an embargo on the import and export of conventional arms for five years and a ban on supply of ballistic missile technology for eight years.
Iran’s UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo told the council that the previous UN resolutions “unjustifiably placed sanctions on Iran for its efforts to exercise its rights.
“They were grounded on nothing but baseless and pure speculation and hearsay. Nobody has ever presented any proof indicating that Iran’s program has been anything but peaceful”, he said.
He also accused Israel of attempting to “sabotage” and “defeat” efforts to reach the deal.
“In so doing, it proves once more that it doesn’t see peace in our region in its interest and considers peace as an existential threat to itself”, he said.
Israel’s UN envoy Ron Prosor called the agreement a “mistake”, a “tragedy” and a “grave strategic error”.
“When the villain is laughing, you know something is wrong”, he said during a press conference following the vote.
“Friends, the villain is laughing, and his laughter echoes throughout the world. Loudly and clearly”, he added.
The resolution’s adoption in the Security Council was considered almost certain, as the council’s five veto-wielding members were involved in the negotiations that led to the deal.
The agreement is expected to face its biggest challenge in the U.S. Congress, for which a 60-day period began Monday to review it before voting on whether or not to endorse it.
There is strong Republican opposition to the deal in the House and Senate, but President Barack Obama has said he will exercise his veto power if Congress rejects the proposal.
Overriding his veto would require a two-thirds majority in both houses.