United Nation Security Council Current Affairs - 2020

Iran tests Medium-Range Missile: US Official

United States military official reported Iran test-launched Shahab-3, a Medium-Range Ballistic Missile inside its borders. Missile was launched from southern coast of Iran and landed east of Tehran. It flew about 1,100 km, however did not pose threat to U.S. or other Western military or shipping bases in region.

Key Highlights

Tensions in Iran & West: The test came amid heightened tensions between Iran and West, mainly over safety of commercial shipping in Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. The missile test also defies demand by US President Donald Trump administration that Iran must curtail its weapon program and rather demonstrates its intent to further push back against U.S. sanctions.

Calculated move by Iran: Despite US’s effort to minimise strategic importance of launch, it appears to be a political statement by Iran, acting both as a carefully calibrated effort at escalation and also as a message to Europe.

UNSC Resolution: Missile launches are not forbidden under 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). This has been is one of President Donald Trump’s complaints about JCPAO agreement which his administration abandoned in 2018. However a United Nation Security Council (UNSC) resolution, passed just as the nuclear agreement was reached in 2015, says that- Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, this includes launches using such ballistic missile technology.

About Shahab-3

It is a liquid-fueled, medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. It is backbone of Iran’s class of medium-range missiles. It is derived from a North Korean missile called Nodong-A.

Iranian news outlets previously called Shahab-3 as one of country’s Israel-hitting missiles.

Range:  It can fly 1150-2000 kilometers, or even upto 1,242 miles, depending on variant.

UN extends sanctions against South Sudan

Despite resistance from Russia, China and African countries, United Nation Security Council (UNSC) has extended an arms embargo and sanctions on South Sudan for a year.

Key Highlights

  • Vote: A US-drafted resolution was adopted by UNSC after a vote of 10 in favour with five abstentions. As per the rule, in the 15-member council, a resolution presented for vote requires a minimum of nine votes for adoption.
  • Outcome: Post adoption of resolution an arms embargo is placed on South Sudan along with an assets freeze and global travel ban put on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fuelling the war. The measure adopted will renews until 31 May 2020.

About UNSC Sanction

  • Background: UN Security Council can take action to maintain or restore international peace and security under Chapter VII of United Nations (UN) Charter.
  • Objective: The UNSC places sanctions to constrain terrorism, support peaceful transitions, deter non-constitutional changes, protect human rights and promote non-proliferation.
  • UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committees: the United Nations Charter’s Article 29 sets out that UNSC may establish subsidiary bodies such as committees or working groups as and when needed for performing its functions. One of them is Sanctions Committees which comprises of 15 members of the Council whose mandate is to impose sanctions.