Document Type


Article Version

Publisher's PDF

Publication Date



The U.N. sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s triggered a humanitarian crisis that lasted for over a decade. Since then, many would say that U.N. sanctions have been narrowly targeted to minimize human damage. It would seem that this is true of the U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran. However, the Security Council resolutions contain ambiguous terms which arguably authorize the much more extensive sanctions imposed by the European Union and others. These in turn have caused significant harm to the Iranian population as a whole, very much like the measures imposed on Iraq in the 1990s.


Copyright 2013 C. Joy Gordon and Georgetown University Law Center

All rights reserved.

Archived here with permission from the copyright holders.

Publication Title

Georgetown Journal of International Law

Published Citation

Gordon, J. "Crippling Iran: The UN Security Council and the Tactic of Deliberate Ambiguity,” Georgetown Journal of International Law, vol. 44, no. 3 (2013), p.973-1006.

Peer Reviewed