The Iran Nuclear Deal's Fallout on the United Nations

The U.S. Congress is presently reviewing the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, a deal concluded on July 14, 2015, by Iran and the main world powers. It is likely Congress will reject the deal next month and it may or may not be able to later override the inevitable presidential veto.

The central issue is whether Iran will or will not be allowed to become a nuclear power.  But other matters of considerable importance seem to have been kept away from the limelight: the impact of the JCPOA on the role and credibility of the United Nations.

1. Security Council Resolutions:  On July 20, the UN Security Council rushed to pass UNSC Resolution 2231 “under silence,” thereby unanimously endorsing the nuclear treaty, as called for in Article 18 of the agreement. By doing so, the Security Council committed itself to rescind six (6) binding resolutions --- pased from 2006 to 2010 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter -- originally intended to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and developing ballistic missiles, and to apply and strengthen sanctions against the Iranian state and designated individuals. Iran had systematically scoffed at these resolutions. The JCPOA vindicated Iran’s policy.

However, UNSC Resolution 2231 is silent on other equally binding Chapter VII resolutions of the Security Council, especially UNSC Resolution 1566, passed on October 8, 2004, and which stresses the global obligations of all nations against states or organizations involved in terrorism: “[The Security Council] recalls that criminal acts... with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public ... as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, are under no circumstances justifiable... and calls upon all States to prevent such acts and, if not prevented, to ensure that such acts are punished by penalties consistent with their grave nature” (Article 3, emphasis added).

Considering that Iran has been the world’s number one state sponsor and promoter of terrorist activities for a number of years – supporting Bashar al-Assad’s brutal civil war in Syria; fomenting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen; financially and militarily assisting Hizb’allah and Hamas, etc. -- it is inconceivable that world powers, led by the United States, could turn a blind eye to their international obligations and, by their silence, acquiesce to the ongoing atrocities instigated by Iran.

Worse still, the imminent lifting of sanctions and the release of billions of dollars to Iran under the provisions of the treaty, fly in the face of the equally binding UNSC Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001, which calls for “all States ... to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts.” (Art. 1).  No one but the most naive optimist doubts that part of this huge cash flow will be diverted by Iran to promote its terrorist activities.  Again, the JCPOA is instrumental in scuttling essential anti-terror resolutions.

2. The UN Charter: For the past fifteen years, top Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, the only nation...

  • characterized by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as “a cancerous tumor which must be uprooted from the region” (2001) and as “a hideous entity in the Middle East which will be undoubtedly annihilated” (2010);
  • threatened by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani with “one nuclear bomb that will destroy everything” (2001);
  • blasted by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his “World without Zionism” conference of 2005 where he vowed that Israel “will be wiped off the map” (or “will vanish from the page of time” depending on translation) and urged “all Zionists to move to Europe,” claiming that “Israel has no place in the region” (2013);
  • convicted by Yahia Rahim Safavi, military commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, to “a death sentence, with God’s help” (2008), a verdict deemed “non-negotiable” by Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Basij militia commander, in March 2015.  The latter statement proves that the election of so-called “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani in 2013 did not moderate in any way Iran’s aggressive attitude toward Israel.

And yet, not only do these Iranian leaders indulge in the worst form of incitement to genocide (a behavior that sentenced the Hutu inciters in Rwanda to long jail terms in 2003), but the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a member of the United Nations in flagrant violation of the UN Charter, which states: “All Members shall refrain...from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state...” (Art. 2[4]). Incidentally, a U.S. Congress Resolution (H.CON.RES.21) was introduced to that effect in June 2007 by Rep. Steven R. Rothman [NJ-9], and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Moreover, the UN Charter envisages the possibility of “expelling” from the UN “a Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter...” (Art. 6). But nothing of the sort was even remotely hinted at by the five permanent members of the Security Council while they were hatching the JCPOA agreement which granted Iran total impunity.

It is ironic that the State of Israel, which has the strongest backup in history and international law for its reconstitution in its ancestral land (the former Palestine Mandate), is the only state subjected to such a vociferous opposition to its existence. And it is worrisome that the major world powers, led by the U.S. administration, have concocted the lame JCPOA agreement which, beyond all its flaws, casts a serious doubt -- by commission and omission -- on whatever credibility the United Nations still has as an international institution designed to preserve world peace and fair relations between its member states.

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