The UN Security Council passed a weakened resolution on Monday, giving Iran a deadline -- August 31 -- to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Iran immediately rejected the action, saying the resolution would only make negotiations more difficult over a package of incentives offered in June for it to suspend enrichment. "All along it has been the persistence of some to draw arbitrary red lines and deadlines that has closed the door to any compromise," Iran's ambassador to the UN, Javad Zarif, said. "This tendency has singlehandedly blocked success and in most cases killed proposals in their infancy."
"This approach will not lead to any productive outcome and in fact it can only exacerbate the situation," he said.
Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the text was watered down from earlier drafts, which would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. It now essentially requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.
The resolution calls on the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to report back by August 31 on Iran's compliance with the resolution's demands. If Iran does not comply, the council would move to adopt political and economic sanctions.
The resolution was passed by a vote of 14-1. Qatar, which represents Arab states on the council, cast the lone dissenting vote.
Drafted by Britain, France and Germany with US backing, the resolution follows a July 12 agreement to refer Tehran to the Security Council for not responding to the incentives package.