Iran Insists on Immediate Lifting of UN Sanctions

Iran Insists on Immediate Lifting of UN Sanctions Iran Insists on Immediate Lifting of UN Sanctions

Iran's insistence that UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program be lifted at the front end of a final nuclear deal with the major powers has emerged as an unexpected sticking point in the negotiations, Al-Monitor on Monday quoted diplomats as saying.

Western diplomats said if a final nuclear deal is reached, the United States and European Union would quickly waive and then lift unilateral nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran that would provide a rapid windfall to Iran's economy.

  New UNSC Resolution to Be Passed

A new UN Security Council resolution outlining the deal and what steps all sides had agreed on would also be passed, the diplomats said.

But the lifting of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran's nuclear program would be step by step and tied to Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal, as well as cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) probe into what it calls possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, the western diplomats said.

Tehran denies claims that its nuclear work may be aimed at developing the capability to build nuclear weapons and says the program is only meant for peaceful purposes. Iran insists on the lifting early on of UN Security Council resolutions.

The lifting of UN Security Council resolutions "within an acceptable time" is a requirement for a nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani said at a news conference in New York September 23.

But lifting UN sanctions "takes a little while," a western diplomat involved in the nuclear negotiations, speaking not for attribution, told a small group of journalists in New York on September 26. "It depends largely on Iran, on its level of cooperation. If it cooperates a lot, it can go quickly," the diplomat said.

"What Iran would like to see is to get rid of the UN Security Council sanctions immediately," the diplomat said. But, "we need to make sure even within the framework of a comprehensive deal (that) they would abide by their commitments." After a final deal, a UN Security Council resolution "would endorse the (comprehensive) agreement, and would explain step by step, this has been done, ... and eliminate sanctions step by step," the western diplomat said.

  IAEA's Role

"We are not asking for something very different" from how the IAEA verified Iran’s compliance with the JPOA, the diplomat said. "We need the IAEA there to make sure everything is done in the proper way."

The UN nuclear agency was assigned the task of verifying Iran's compliance with an interim nuclear deal it reached with the major powers in Geneva last November, which is known as the Joint Plan of Action.

"We know they (Iran) have a different view," the diplomat said. But "they should not underestimate the huge economic relief for their people" a nuclear deal would bring. Iran could get "quick … relief of a huge portion of (European and US unilateral) trade and economic and oil sanctions. … This is a lot for a country under embargo." The UN issue is not the only remaining stumbling block toward a deal. European, US, and Iranian officials said significant gaps on core issues remain after some 10 days of meetings in New York which ended on Friday.

  Significant Gaps

"Comprehensive negotiations are much more complex and much more difficult," than those that led to reaching the interim Iran nuclear deal last fall, US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns said at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Monday. "There are quite significant gaps right now on issues critical" to a resolution. "It should not be impossible to reach a comprehensive agreement," Burns said. "What is at issue is reaching an agreement with mutually agreed limitations" on Iran's program.

  Venue, Date of Next Talks

Foreign ministers of Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are negotiating a venue and place for the next round of their consultations on Iran's nuclear dossier, the ambassador to Moscow told Itar-Tass.

"This is yet unclear where and when consultations will be held," Mehdi Sanaei said.

"We will resume talks in ten days," Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told Itar-Tass on Monday on the sidelines of the Caspian summit in southern Russian city of Astrakhan. "These are meetings with ministers of separate countries, not all P5+1 mediators," he added.

Zarif noted that the composition of negotiators from the P5+1 depended on EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who coordinates the talks on behalf of the six major powers.