The UN Security Council has endorsed Iran's nuclear program. However, sanctions will be lifted only after the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Tehran has taken important steps outlined in the agreement.
The 15-member body on Monday endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, agreed upon last week by the P5+1 countries - the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany.
"The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously," said New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, after the vote.
The resolution called for "full implementation on the timetable established" within the deal and urged UN member countries to facilitate the process.
According to the agreement, Tehran would restrict its nuclear program, which western countries suspected was being used to produce a bomb. In return, the European Union and the US would relax economic sanctions imposed upon it.
Sanctions could be re-imposed
However, financial restrictions on Iran would be lifted only once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that the Middle Eastern country had taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement. This would take around 90 days.
Once economic curbs were relaxed, the UN would terminate seven older resolutions and implement the latest decisions adopted on Monday. The latest agreement allowed for the supply of technology and heavy weapons such as tanks and attack helicopters to Iran once the Security Council approved it. Previously, restrictions on the country's ballistic missile technology and heavy weapons were for eight and five years respectively. Iran would also not be able to transfer nuclear technology for peaceful purposes for a decade.
All sanctions would be re-imposed if Iran breached any of the conditions, according to the agreement. This automatic "snap-back" ensured that potential vetoes from Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, would not have an impact on the present deal.
Concern about Iran's 'destabilizing' activities
On July 14, the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany signed a draft resolution with Tehran to limit its nuclear program and prevent it from building nuclear weapons. The agreement still needs to be passed by the US Congress, which will review it in the next 60 days.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power acknowledged the deal's significance, but said the agreement did not change the Washington's "profound concern 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 repeated threats against Israel to its other destabilizing activities in the region."
Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who became the first western leader to visit Tehran to foster trade relations after the deal was reached, also addressed the region's volatility, saying that closer economic ties with Iran depended on it improving ties with Israel. Tehran is believed to have close ties with the Lebanese Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel.
mg/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)