UNITED NATIONS — In a rare show of unanimity, the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution Monday seeking to impose an immediate, mandatory cease-fire in the almost seven-year-old war between Iraq and Iran.
The resolution raised the possibility of the imposition of sanctions if either side fails to abide by it.
Secretary of State George P. Shultz pronounced himself "delighted" with the action, and although Iran boycotted the session and has indicated repeatedly in recent days that it would ignore any U.N. action, Shultz cautioned against "snap judgments" on what the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's government would do.
Iranian Gets Official Copy
Iran's delegate to the United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, came to the office of Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar later to receive an official copy of the resolution. Pursued to the basement garage of the U.N. headquarters building by reporters and camera crews, the Iranian said he will comment on his government's view at a news conference today.
Monday's session was unusual in that all five permanent members of the council--the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China--joined in sponsoring the resolution, placing the United States and the Soviet Union in the rare position of being on the same side of an issue. There was also an unusual display of diplomatic weight, with seven foreign ministers attending the debate.
"The international community has joined together today (Monday) to say, 'Enough! Stop the war! Now!' " Shultz said.
The Security Council resolution comes after more than two months of diplomacy to end a war that has already killed or wounded more than 1 million since it began in September, 1980, and now poses the danger of directly involving the United States. The Reagan Administration is expected to begin providing U.S. Navy escorts this week to Kuwaiti oil tankers flying U.S. flags.
The resolution orders a cease-fire "on land, at sea and in the air" in the war as a first step toward a settlement to be mediated by Perez de Cuellar. It also requires a supervised withdrawal of all forces to internationally recognized borders "without delay."
Perez de Cuellar said after the vote that, if the truce took hold, he would send U.N. observers to the front as soon as possible.
"Conscious of the urgency inherent in this resolution, I intend to enter into consultations with the parties as soon as this meeting concludes," he added.
The Security Council has adopted seven resolutions in six years dealing with various aspects of the war. Included were repeated cease-fire calls that Iraq accepted and Iran rejected.
Possibility of Sanctions
What sets this resolution apart is a statement in its preamble that the council is acting under provisions of the U.N. Charter that include the option of imposing sanctions "to maintain or restore international peace and security."
In the resolution's final operative paragraph, the council decides "to meet again as necessary to consider further steps to ensure compliance with this resolution," but does not set a date.
After passage of the resolution, the White House issued a statement in Washington saying, "The Security Council's firm action offers a rare opportunity for a reduction of tensions and a just peace in this vital area of the world. We must not let that opportunity slip away.
"We hope that both countries will comply with the Security Council's cease-fire and withdrawal order."
Talking to reporters after the nearly three-hour session, Shultz emphasized that the measure adopted had been drafted by all five of the permanent members of the council. It included, he said, several provisions which friends of Iran among the 10 non-permanent members had sought to include.
Among such clauses in the resolution is one that directs Perez de Cuellar to explore establishment of a fact-finding body to determine responsibility for the conflict. Iran has denounced the council in the past for failing to label Iraq as the original aggressor.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati said Sunday that Iran would ignore any U.N. resolution that did not name Iraq, which began the war with an invasion, as the aggressor. And Monday, Tehran's official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted President Ali Khamenei as saying the U.N. effort was worthless.
Addressing the council before its vote, Shultz declared:
"My government is determined that this mandatory resolution not become an empty effort, casting doubt on the efficacy of the United Nations as an organization for peace. We hope and trust that today's decision will be honored. At the same time, we also support the decisive application of enforcement measures should either or both parties reject the call of this body."
Asked later about the prospects for adoption of sanctions if necessary to enforce the resolution, Shultz replied, "We are quite prepared to discuss that."