UN Security Council to vote on Iran deal next week

15-member body expected to easily endorse controversial accord with Tehran over nuclear program

The UN Security Council (AP/Jason DeCrow)
The UN Security Council (AP/Jason DeCrow)

The UN Security Council is expected to endorse a historic deal on Iran’s nuclear program on Monday, diplomats said.

The 10-year agreement struck in Vienna this week calls for a lifting of the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy in exchange for measures to ensure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

The resolution should pass with little difficulty, diplomats said Thursday, since the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — were among those countries that negotiated the accord.

The resolution was circulated to all council members Wednesday by the United States. Council members also have been briefed by both Iran and the other countries that negotiated the landmark agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

The new resolution would replace the existing framework of seven sets of Security Council sanctions imposed since 2006 on Iran, enshrining a new set of restrictions.

But a UN embargo on conventional arms sales and exports is to stay in place for five years, while trade in ballistic missiles capable of being armed with a nuclear warhead will remain for eight years.

The deal also sets out a so-called “snapback” mechanism to put the old sanctions back in place. It establishes a joint commission which would examine any complaints if world powers feel Iran has not met its commitments under the Vienna deal.

The text of the draft resolution “endorses” the Vienna agreement and “urges its full implementation on the timetable established” under the agreement.

The text also “requests the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear commitments.”

Once the council receives the IAEA’s report on compliance, the seven sets of Security Council sanctions can be repealed.

Under the Vienna agreement, the United States and European Union will gradually lift the sanctions they have placed on Iran as well.

Monday’s vote will come despite calls from some US lawmakers to delay Security Council approval until Congress reviews the deal.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, on Thursday wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying, “We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.”

But the chief US negotiator in the Iran talks, Wendy Sherman, rejected that idea Thursday.

She told reporters: “It would have been a little difficult when all of the (countries negotiating with Iran) wanted to go to the United Nations to get an endorsement of this, since it is a product of the United Nations process, for us to say, ‘Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.'”

Sherman said the council resolution allows the “time and space” for a congressional review before the measure actually takes effect.

The Security Council vote is scheduled for 9 a.m. (13:00 GMT).

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