United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 was a 20 July 2015 resolution endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the nuclear program of Iran. It sets out an inspection process and schedule while also preparing for the removal of United Nations sanctions against Iran. The 15 nations on the Security Council unanimously endorsed the resolution, which had been negotiated by the permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChina, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—plus Germany, the European Union, and Iran.[1]

UN Security Council
Resolution 2231
Date20 July 2015
Meeting no.7488
CodeS/RES/2231 (Document)
SubjectNuclear program of Iran
Voting summary
  • 15 voted for
  • None voted against
  • None abstained
  • None absent
Security Council composition
Permanent members
Non-permanent members

Iran reactionEdit

After the resolution, the Iranian Foreign Affairs minister said: ″the Iranian nation should feel fundamental changes in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231″.[2]

Accusation of Iranian non-complianceEdit

On 29 March 2016, the United States, the UK, France, and Germany wrote a joint letter to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon accusing Iran of "defying" Security Council Resolution 2231 through missile tests conducted since the deal. The letter said the missiles were "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons". However, it stopped short of saying the tests were illegal. Resolution 2231 calls for Iran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles ("Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology"[3]), but according to unnamed diplomats in a Deutsche Welle report, the language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures.[4]

On 9 June 2020, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stated in his biennial report to the UNSC on the Iran arms embargo that cruise missiles used in multiple 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia had Iranian origin. Cruise missiles or drones used in the 2019 Afif attack, the 2019 Abqaiq–Khurais attack and the 2019 Abha International Airport attacks had Iranian origin, as were several items of materiel interdicted by the US in November 2019 and February 2020. Some items were allegedly transferred[clarification needed] between February 2016 and April 2018 in a matter possibly "inconsistent" with Resolution 2231:[5]

The Secretariat assesses that the cruise missiles and/or parts thereof used in the four attacks are of Iranian origin.

At the time, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said that as a result of the Guterres report she would "circulate a draft resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran soon"/ Diplomats said Washington could likely face a "tough, messy battle".[5]

Motions to snapback sanctionsEdit

On 14 August 2020, a proposal by the US to extend arms restrictions on Iran set to expire in October of that year under resolution 2231 was defeated at the Security Council, with only the Dominican Republic voting with the US in favour, while China and Russia voted against. The remaining 11 members of the council, which included UK, German, French, Belgian, and Estonian delegations, abstained from the vote. In response to the defeat, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi remarked that "the result of the vote in [the UNSC] on arms embargo against Iran shows—once more—the US' isolation. Council's message: no to unilateralism".[6][7]

On 19 August 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that his government intends to utilize the so-called snapback provision in ¶11 of the document, in which any member of the JCPOA can "demand the restoration of all UN sanctions". The motion for the snapback, which is intended in case of significant Iranian non-compliance with the resolution, "starts a 30-day clock during which the UNSC must vote affirmatively to continue the sanctions relief that Iran was given in return for curbs on its nuclear program". This UNSC vote "cannot be blocked by a veto".[8]

On 16 September 2020, Elliott Abrams, the US "special envoy for Iran", announced that all UN sanctions would "snap back" at 20:00 EDT on 19 September. Abrams said that "We expect all UN member states to implement their member state responsibilities and respect their obligations to uphold these sanctions. If other nations do not follow it, I think they should be asked … whether they do not think they are weakening the structure of UN sanctions." Other nations advocate a position whereby when the US abrogated the JCPOA it excluded itself from the JCPOA membership and hence no longer can benefit from the JCPOA.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Security Council, Adopting Resolution 2231 (2015), Endorses Joint Comprehensive Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Programme United Nations
  2. ^ "Zarif: Iranians should feel changes according to UN Resolution 2231". irna.ir. Islamic Republic News Agency. September 23, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2016. The Iranian nation should feel fundamental changes in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231
  3. ^ "Resolution 2231" (PDF). United Nations Security Council. Jul 20, 2015. p. 99. S/RES/2231 (2015). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Iran missile tests defied UN resolution, say US and European allies". Deutsche Welle. Mar 30, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Arms seized by U.S., missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia 'of Iranian origin': U.N." Reuters. 12 June 2020.
  6. ^ "US sees embarrassing UN defeat over Iran arms embargo proposal". The Guardian. August 15, 2020.
  7. ^ "Security Council Announces Failure to Adopt Text on Iran Sanctions by 2 Against, 2 in Favour, 11 Abstentions". UN. UN. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  8. ^ Lederer, Edith M.; Lee, Matthew (19 August 2020). "UN crisis looms as U.S. readies demand to reimpose sanctions on Iran". The Globe and Mail Inc. The Associated Press.
  9. ^ Lee, Matthew; Lederer, Edith M (17 September 2020). "Saturday showdown set as U.S. to declare UN sanctions on Iran are back". The Globe and Mail Inc. The Associated Press.

External linksEdit