The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress.
The 15-0 vote for approval of the resolution, 14 pages long, was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.
Iran has pledged to let in international monitors to inspect its facilities for the next 10 years and other measures that were devised to guarantee that its nuclear energy activities are purely peaceful.
The Security Council resolution, which is legally binding, lays out the steps required for the lifting of United Nations sanctions.
It has no legal consequence on the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.
The European Union also approved the Iran nuclear deal on Monday, putting in motion the lifting of its own sanctions, which include prohibitions on the purchase of Iranian oil. Europe will continue to prohibit the export of ballistic missile technology and sanctions related to human rights.
Diplomats have warned that if the United States Congress refuses to lift American penalties against Iran, the Iranians may renege on their commitments as well, which could result in a collapse of the entire deal.
The resolution takes effect in 90 days, a time frame negotiated in Vienna to allow Congress, where members have expressed strong distrust of the agreement, to review it. President Obama, who has staked much of his foreign policy ambitions on the Iran pact, has vowed to veto a congressional rejection of the nuclear accord.
The resolution will not completely lift all Council restrictions on Iran. It maintains an arms embargo, and sets up a panel to review the import of sensitive technology on a case-by-case basis.
It also sets up a way to renew sanctions if Iran does not abide by its commitments. In the event of an unresolved dispute over Iran’s enrichment activities, the United Nations sanctions snap back automatically after 30 days. To avoid the sanctions renewal requires a vote of the Council — giving skeptics, namely the United States, an opportunity to veto it.
Read more: NY Times