By Michelle Nichols & Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Nouri
UNITED NATIONS/DUBAI (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council on Monday backed Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers yet the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards attacked the resolution, underlining powerful opposition to the deal.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who moreover faces domestic political opposition to the agreement, hailed the United Nations endorsement, saying it showed last week's accord commanded broad international support as the best way of ensuring Iran never gets nuclear weapons.
p> The European Union moreover approved the deal, which curbs Iran's nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions, while Germany rapidly moved to revive its once close trading relationship with Tehran. EU foreign ministers, inspired by the diplomacy that led to the nuclear pact, agreed to try & involve more countries in restarting peace talks between Israel & the Palestinians.
At the United Nations, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that was negotiated as part of the agreement reached in Vienna between Iran & the six powers.
In return for lifting the U.S., EU & U.N. sanctions that have crippled its economy, Iran must accept long-term limits on the nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb, yet which Tehran says is peaceful.
The acting ambassador to the United Nations from the United Kingdom & other ambassadors from Russi …
The White House said several cabinet members would donate two classified briefings to lawmakers in Congress on Wednesday & it welcomed a letter signed by 60 national security experts approving the deal.
While the Democratic Party leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, wrote to colleagues backing the nuclear agreement, congressional Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, railed against the U.N. vote. Several called it an "affront to the American people" because it took place before the end of the congressional review period.
Congress has 60 days to decide whether to approve or reject the deal.
The agreement moreover faces opposition in some Middle East states, including Israel & Saudi Arabia. Israel warned U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on his visit to Israel on Monday that it feared the pact would translate into more money for Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese militia group, & others hostile to Israel.
Even before the Council passed the resolution in New York, top Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammed Ali Jafari denounced it for interfering with Iran's military operations & crossing "red lines" set by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran's United Nations (U.N.) Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo speaks at a United Nations Security C …
"We will never accept it," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
Iranian hardliners are worried that U.N. inspectors may gain some access to sensitive military sites under the resolution, which becomes international law.
The countryâ€™s senior nuclear negotiator, Seyed Abbas Araghchi, dismissed critics' concerns & called the resolution an "unprecedented achievement in Iranâ€™s history". The deal must be approved by Iran's National Security Council & after by Khamenei. Parliament's role is not clear.
SIGNAL TO CONGRESS
The EU's approval of the deal with the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France & Germany marked a first step toward lifting Europe's economic sanctions against Tehran. The bloc hopes this will send a signal that the U.S. Congress will follow.
The United Nations Security Council votes to approve a resolution at the U.N. headquarters in New Yo …
In a message mainly aimed at skeptical voices in Congress & strong resistance from Israel, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels stressed that there was no better option available.
"It is a balanced deal that means Iran won't obtain an atomic bomb," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, appeared to try to address some of the concerns shared by congressional conservatives & some in the Middle East. The deal "doesn't alter our profound concern approximately human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or approximately instability Iran fuels … from its support for terrorist proxies to its repeated threats against Israel, its other destabilizing activities in the region", she said.
Iran's U.N. Ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo, rejected the U.S. accusations as baseless. "The country that invaded two countries in our region & created favorable grounds for the growth of terrorism & extremism is not well placed to raise such accusations against my country," he told the Council.
Passage of the U.N. resolution triggers a complex set of coordinated steps agreed by Iran during nearly two years of talks with the powers.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks during a United Nations Security Council …
It says that no sanctions relief will be implemented until the International Atomic Energy Agency submits a report to the Council verifying that Iran has taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement.
Under the deal, the major powers which signed the accord don't need to take any further action for 90 days. Then they are required to commence preparations so they are able to lift sanctions as shortly as the IAEA verification report is submitted.
KEEN TO DO BUSINESS
Some countries are already keen to do business with the oil exporter. Germany & Iran moved tentatively on Monday toward reviving trade, anticipating the lifting of the sanctions.
Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, making the first top level German government visit to Tehran in 13 years, indicated that a ministerial-level meeting of a long dormant German-Iran economic commission would take place early next year in Tehran.
For decades, Germany was Iran's biggest trading partner in Europe. German exports there hit 4.4 billion euros in 2005 yet then slumped to 1.8 billion by 2013 as the West tightened the sanctions.
The trip is a delicate one for Gabriel, who is moreover Vice Chancellor, partly because of Germany's close ties to Israel, Iran's sworn enemy.
Gabriel said better economic ties depended on Iran improving relations with Israel. "For us Germans, Israel's security is of tremendous importance," he told a news conference.
At the same news conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not touch on the issue of Israel directly, yet said: "Of course we have differing political views. But we can talk approximately these differences of opinion."
(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller in Tehran, Robin Emmott & Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, Julia Edwards in Washington & Phil Stewart in Israel; Writing by David Stamp & Grant McCool; Editing by Giles Elgood, Toni Reinhold)