Iran welcomes easing of UN sanctions on Iraq
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has expressed satisfaction with the United Nations Security Council's decision to ease international sanctions on Baghdad imposed after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Tehran Times reported.
On Thursday, the 15-member council unanimously agreed that the issue of missing Kuwaiti people, property, and archives should be dealt with under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter - which urges countries to peacefully resolve any conflicts - instead of Chapter 7, according to Reuters.
Chapter 7 of the charter allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention if states do not abide by council demands.
In an interview with the Fars News Agency published on Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry official also congratulated the Iraqi government and people on "this significant event" and said that the decision would positively affect the political situation in the Arab country.
He also said that the Security Council's decision testified to Iraqi officials' good performance in regard to the country's relations with its neighbors after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regim, adding that the new Iraq proved that it was no longer a threat to international peace and security.
The move by the council is a significant political boost for Baghdad as it struggles to restore its international standing a decade after a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled Saddam in 2003.
The Security Council resolution recognized "the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to (1990)." U.S.-led troops drove Iraq out of Kuwait in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
"This is a new beginning for the relations between our two neighborly and brotherly countries," Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters after the vote. "This is an example for other countries also to resolve their disputes and differences through peaceful means."
The only issues linked to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait that remain under Chapter 7 are an arms embargo and Baghdad's payment of $52 billion in compensation to Kuwait, diplomats say. Iraq still owes $11 billion and has said it expects to pay by 2015.
There are still a range of Chapter 7 issues imposed on Baghdad after Saddam's ouster in 2003, diplomats say, including the freeze and return of Saddam-era assets and trade ban on stolen Iraqi cultural property.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the UN political mission in Iraq should take responsibility for facilitating the search for missing Kuwaitis, or their remains, property, and the country's national archives.