The United Nations Security Council has unanimously endorsed the recently struck Iran nuclear deal - an action that has been hailed by chair and Foreign Minister Murray McCully as a "standout occasion".

Mr McCully chaired the 15-member council, which agreed sanctions levelled against Tehran will be dismantled in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. The vote is the beginning of the end of sanctions against the country.

New Zealand holds the presidency for the month of July, which means it is chairing all Security Council meetings and taking a lead on its work on international security issues.

Mr McCully said the Iran deal was an extremely important one and - despite heated opposition from Israel and others who are sceptical of Iran's intentions - represented a chance to reset relations between Iran and the international community.


"As I said to the council this morning, sadly there are too few days where we can claim that the patient diplomacy and constructive dialogue of the United Nations' security council solves the big conflicts and differences around the world. This is a standout occasion and it's important that we should note it as such," Mr McCully told Radio New Zealand.

The impact of the deal on Iran's economy would be "huge", Mr McCully said.

Trade delegations were already visiting Iran in anticipation of sanctions lifting, and New Zealand's trade with Iran would likely benefit if the deal was successful.

The UN meeting was at times stormy, with the US and Iran trading verbal blows in the council chamber.

Within minutes the resolution was condemned by the Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, who said the council had awarded a great prize to the most dangerous country in the world.
Mr McCully said "a number of steps remain" before the agreement can be fully implemented, including EU and US Congressional approval, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification.

"We urge all parties, and in particular Iran, to approach implementation with the same positive intent and good faith that led to the agreement being concluded."

If that happened and Iran stuck to its obligations, Mr McCully said the deal could help reset relations between Iran and its neighbours, including Israel.