We ask whether a landmark nuclear deal struck with Iran is Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement to date.
The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that will clear a path for international sanctions crippling Iran’s economy to be lifted.
Representatives of all 15 countries on the Security Council voted on Monday by raising their hands.
“The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously,” Murray McCully, foreign minister of New Zealand, which holds the current presidency of the Security Council, announced after the vote.
But the measure also provides a mechanism for UN sanctions to “snap back” in place if Iran fails to meet its obligations.
Iran never got a fair treatment from #UNSC in the last 35 yrs. Expect to see evidence of "fundamental shift" promised in today's resolution.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 20, 2015
The passing of the resolution marks formal UN endorsement for the agreement reached between Iran and the so-called P5 1 group after 18 straight days of talks that capped almost two years of negotiations.
The agreement with Iran was reached last Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, by the Security Council’s five permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany.
The document specifies that seven resolutions related to UN sanctions will be terminated when Iran has completed a series of major steps to curb its nuclear programme and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded that “all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities”.
‘Snap back’ provision
All provisions of the UN resolution will terminate in 10 years, including the “snap back” provision on sanctions.
The text launches a progressive and conditional lifting of sanctions, in exchange for guarantees that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb.
Under the nuclear agreement, Iran’s nuclear programme will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions.
Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.
The resolution calls for “full implementation on the timetable established” of the agreement reached in Vienna and urges UN member countries to facilitate the process.
The Security Council charges the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to “undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear commitments”.
President Barack Obama said the Security Council’s vote showed there is a broad consensus that the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.
He said he was hopeful the US congress “will pay attention to that broad-based consensus”.
Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the Security Council had spoken even though US congress had yet to even take a look at the deal.