A few hours after failing to call for an immediate ceasefire to the killing of Lebanese civilians by Israel, the UN Security Council united on Monday, July 31, to give Iran a deadline to halt its alleged nuclear activities by the end of August or face the threat of sanctions.
The resolution, adopted by a vote of 14-1, demands that Iran "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development," reported Reuters.
It calls on Iran to follow the directives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "without further delay" and mandates IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei to give a report on whether Iran has complied by August 31.
The measure was proposed by Britain, France and Germany, with strong US backing.
Qatar, the only Arab member on the 15-member council, was the only member to give the measure the thumbs down, saying it was too confrontational.
"We do not want a new volcano erupting in the region," said Qatar Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program to hide a quest for atomic weapons.
Iran has repeatedly refuted the accusation, insisting that the sole aim of its program is to generate electricity and that it has the right to enrich uranium under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who has been pushing for a strong stand against Iran, claimed victory.
"This is the first Security Council resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear weapons program, reflecting the gravity of this situation and the determination of the council," he said.
"We hope this resolution will demonstrate to Iran that the best way to end its international isolation is to simply give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
The resolution stopped short of an immediate threat of sanctions, which have been opposed by Russia and China.
It said that punitive action would have to be the subject of further discussions.
If Iran does not suspend its nuclear work by August 31, the UN Security Council will then move on to debating a new resolution that could order economic and political sanctions against Tehran.
The resolution is drafted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, Article 40, which says the council, before taking any action, can call on those concerned to "comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary."
Chapter 7 makes a resolution mandatory and provides options for enforcement. The document excludes any military action.
But Russia and China are reluctant to impose sanctions and Moscow's UN ambassador, Valery Churkin, said the sanctions provision meant the council would have "a discussion" only on punitive measures.
Iranian UN Ambassador Javad Zarif rejected the Security Council demand, saying the action was without legal basis.
"Iran's peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility," Zarif told the council.
Iran threatened Sunday, July 30, to reject an offer of international economic and political incentives to stop its uranium enrichment if the Security Council passes the resolution.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Tehran could "revise" its policies -- implicitly warning that future access for UN inspectors could end.
"If tomorrow they pass a resolution against Iran, the package will not be on the agenda any more," he said of the international incentives.
Iranian leaders have already warned they could halt cooperation with IAEA inspectors and even quit the nuclear NPT.
Germany and the council's five permanent members with veto power -- the US, Russia, China, France and Britain -- in June offered a package of energy, commercial and technological incentives if Iran suspended it uranium enrichment work.
Iran has said it will respond late next month
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16