The Security Council in its resolution 661 (1990), adopted following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990, banned all exports and most imports from and to Iraq, and froze Iraq’s financial assets abroad.  A Committee of the Security Council was established to monitor compliance with the sanctions.  In addition, resolution 670 (1990) established a ban on flights destined to land or take off in Iraq, again with humanitarian exemptions.

Resolution 687 (1991), adopted following the liberation of Kuwait, stated that the measures first imposed against exports to Iraq would not apply to foodstuffs and to materials and supplies for essential civilian needs, and that the Council would review this part of the sanctions regime every 60 days.  Several such reviews have so far taken place, although none have resulted in a modification of the sanctions regime.  Resolution 700 (1991) established that the Committee report at 90-day intervals to the Council on the implementation of the arms embargo and related sanctions against Iraq; to date, more than 40 such reports have been submitted.

Resolution 986 (1995) allowed Iraq to sell a limited amount of petroleum and petroleum products to finance the purchase of humanitarian goods as well as mandated various United Nations activities concerning Iraq (the Oil-for-Food Programme). This Programme is managed by the Office of the Iraq Programme and has been extended several times.

The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) was established in October 1997 to implement the oil for food programme for Iraq established by Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and subsequent resolutions.

Resolution 1284 (1999) removed the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports and provided for additional arrangements for facilitating humanitarian supplies to Iraq.  The resolution also established the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to monitor the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, thereby replacing the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). 

Adopting a draft resolution on Iraq on 14 May 2002, the Security Council decided to approve a list of revised sanctions against Iraq and to extend the country's oil-for-food program for a further 180 days. The Council also adopted resolution 1409 (2002) in which it decided to adopt a revised Goods Review List (document S/2002/515) and revised procedures (document S/2002/532) for its application for implementation beginning on 30 May 2002 as a basis for the humanitarian program in Iraq.

On 8 November 2002 the Security Council, by adopting resolution 1441, set up an enhanced inspection regime for full and verified completion of the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991). The resolution gave Iraq a final opportunity to comply with the disarmament obligations. UNMOVIC and IAEA resumed their inspections following the adoption of resolution 1441. However, the inspections came to an end in March 2003 before being completed, just prior to the US-UK mililtary action against Iraq.

On 28 March 2003, after the initiation of the US-UK military action against Iraq, the Security Council approved a resolution adjusting the suspended Oil-for-Food programme to give the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan more authority to administer the operation for the next 45 days (S/2003/1472).

On 22 May the Security Council adopted a new resolution on Iraq, S/2003/1483, which lifts the sanctions imposed almost 13 years ago following the invasion of Kuwait. The new resolution sets up a government infrastructure under the authority of the US and coalition partners until an internationally recognized Iraqi government has been established. The prohibitions on the sale or supply of arms to Iraq remain in place and are added with the freezing of financial assets removed from Iraq, or acquired, by Saddam Hussein or other senior officials of the former Iraqi regime. The Council also decided to terminate the Sanctions Committee (res. 661) at the conclusion of the six month period called for in resolution 1483. The resolution also calls on Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a Special Representative to coordinate humanitarian aid and work with the occupying authority to restore national and local institutions.

Recent resolutions by the UNSC

North Korea

30 November 2016 – With Resolution 2321 the Security Council decides that Members of the Government of DPRK and vessels believed to be related to nuclear- or ballistic missile-related programmes or activities prohibited Security Council resolutions, shall be prohibited from entering Member States’ territories and ports. Member states shall prohibit DPRK from using real property in their territory for any purpose other than diplomatic activities and take necessary measures to close bank accounts in DPRK within 90 days.

A ban on DPRK’s selling, and Member States’ procurement, of copper, nickel, silver and zink is imposed.

The mandate of the Committee set out in resolution 1718 shall apply also to the measures imposed in this resolution.


10 November 2016 – With Resolution 2317 the Security Council decides to renew the provisions set out in resolution 2142 (2014) stating that the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply deliveries of weapons, ammunition or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the Security Forces of the Federal Government of Somalia to provide security for the Somali people. 

More UN Sanctions