Russia Vetoes UN Resolution Linking Iran with Terror Activities in Yemen

A UK-drafted resolution aimed at pressuring Iran over alleged weapons supplies to Yemeni fighters has failed at the UN Security Council, Press TV reports. On Monday, the resolution gained 11 favorable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was blocked by Russia’s veto.

“We cannot concur with uncorroborated conclusions and evidence which requires verification and discussions within the sanctions committee,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council.

Earlier in the month, Britain circulated a draft resolution that would renew sanctions on Yemen for another year and also “condemns” Iran for allegedly breaching the 2015 arms embargo on the country by “failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles, UAVs and other military equipment to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthi movement has been defending Yemen against a bloody Saudi-led military campaign, which was launched in 2015 with the help of the U.S. and the UK to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-friendly government.

The draft resolution, backed by France and the U.S., called for unspecified measures in response to the UN report about Iran’s alleged role in Yemen, stressing that the UNSC will take “additional measures to address these violations,” and that “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen” is a criterion for sanctions.

A group of UN experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that it had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

The UN experts, however, said they were unable to identify the supplier. Both Tehran and Sana’a have repeatedly rejected the allegations as a fabricated scenario and said the armed forces of Yemen have strengthened their missile power on their own.

Despite the rancor over that resolution, which was drafted by Britain and strongly backed by the United States, the Council then unanimously approved a Russian-drafted resolution that renewed the embargo and the panel’s mandate. That resolution conspicuously avoided the issue of Iranian weapons in Yemen.

Security Council diplomats struggled unsuccessfully to reach a compromise over the Russian objections to Britain’s draft, which identified Iran as an embargo violator. Jonathan Allen, Britain’s deputy ambassador, told reporters that the draft had conveyed “the very serious concerns” relayed by the panel of experts and had made clear “Iranian noncompliance” with the embargo.

The United States ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, who has repeatedly sought to convince fellow diplomats that Iran has flouted the embargo, denounced the Russian veto.

“In spite of a mountain of credible, independent evidence showing Iran violated the Yemen arms embargo, resulting in a series of attacks on civilian targets, Russia prevented accountability and endangered the entire region,” Ms. Haley said.

The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, dismissed the criticism.

“We did this not because we wished to bring about its demise,” he said of the arms embargo, “but rather because we did not reach consensus on some individual wording.” He expressed thanks for the unanimous approval of the Russian draft.

Meanwhile, Iran’s envoy to the United Nations says that the U.S. and the UK are trying to distract the international community away from Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen by drafting such resolutions.  Gholamali Khoshroo further went on to dismiss the allegations that his country had been providing weapons to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement.

“The U.S. and the UK drafted the anti-Iranian resolution at the UN in an attempt to deflect the international community’s attention away from the war crimes being committed by the Saudi regime in Yemen,” Khoshroo said in a statement on Monday.

The Iranian diplomat also reiterated Tehran’s stance on Yemen, stressing that only a political solution and intra-Yemeni dialog can put an end to the country’s conflict.