The UN Security Council (UNSC) looked set to adopt a EU-sponsored and US-backed resolution demanding Iran “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development” by the end of August. The resolution warns that “appropriate measures” under Article 41 of Chapter 7, meaning debilitating sanctions, will be imposed.
This is the first time that the UNSC has come around to pass a legally binding resolution under a threat to consider sanctions over a program suspected to be developing weapons of mass destruction armed with nuclear warheads. While there is no clinching evidence, there is circumstantial proof that Iran may have such a program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the resolution as unacceptable and asserted his country’s right “to take advantage of peaceful nuclear technology.” A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that a resolution that humiliates Iran will create a deeper crisis in the West Asia but refused to elaborate what that crisis would be.
For the first time, Iran seems to have been deserted by China and Russia. Both these P5 nations have been shielding Iran but also tried reasoning with the Islamic state to accept a generous package offered by the EU. However, Iran has been very recalcitrant over this issue and been delivering increasingly bellicose statements against the West and Israel. There still seemed some hope for Iran as the Russian UN Ambassador said that the sanction measure only meant that the council will have “a discussion” on punitive measures suggesting that it was not a fait accompli. He reiterated that Iran had time till August 22 to respond to the 6-nation package laced with energy, commercial, and technology promises.