UNSC Resolution Not to Limit US Options on Iran

UNSC Resolution Not to Limit US Options on Iran  UNSC Resolution Not to Limit US Options on Iran

The US State Department fought back on Friday against the latest Republican criticism of the Iran nuclear talks, saying any moves to lift UN sanctions if there was a deal would not limit US options for future action against Tehran.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the United States and five other major powers and Iran have begun talks on a possible draft resolution to endorse any future deal and address the lifting of UN sanctions.

In a letter to US President Barack Obama sent before the Reuters story was published, Republican Senator Bob Corker warned that any move by the administration to bypass Congress and go straight to the UN Security Council with an Iran deal would be "a direct affront to the American people."  

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters a Security Council resolution would not impact the US ability to act unilaterally on Iran or compel it to remove sanctions.

"The Security Council would not impose new binding obligations on the United States that would limit our flexibility in any way to respond to future Iranian non-compliance," Psaki said. She added it was always known the council would need to act to repeal UN sanctions if there was a deal. A number of UN resolutions, four of them imposing sanctions, have been adopted against Iran over its nuclear activities. Iran believes the resolutions, which demand Iran halt uranium enrichment, lack a legal basis as they call on the Islamic Republic to forfeit its nuclear rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  

  Shielding Agreement

Western officials close to the talks said one of the advantages of a UN resolution endorsing a deal with Tehran is that it could shield any agreement from attempts to undermine it.

Some 47 Republican US senators wrote an open letter to Iran's officials this week warning that any deal with President Barack Obama bypassing the Senate would not be binding and could be rescinded later.

Psaki acknowledged that steps taken by the council under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter related to unwinding UN sanctions would be binding for UN member states. Chapter 7 deals with measures to compel countries to comply with UN decisions.

However, a mere council endorsement of the deal would not make the agreement binding for Washington, she added. Other western officials close to the talks said a council endorsement would make the deal binding for European Union states.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council — plus Germany and Iran are discussing a possible UN resolution. The topic has become a major issue in difficult negotiations that resume next week on a final settlement to the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran and the six major powers are aiming to complete the framework of a nuclear deal by the end of this month and achieve a full agreement by June 30.