Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution Citing Iran Sanctions Violation

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -

Russia vetoed a British-drafted U.N. resolution on Monday that promised action against violations of a U.N. arms embargo on Yemen and pointed to a report by experts that cited Iran as a violator.

The vote was 11 in favor, Russia and Bolivia opposed, and China and Kazakhstan abstaining.

A report in January by the U.N. panel of experts said Iran violated the 2015 arms embargo by failing “to take the necessary measures” to prevent the direct or indirect supply of missiles and drones to Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The experts examined missile remnants fired into Saudi Arabia by the Houthis last year and said many “are consistent with those of the Iranian designed and manufactured Qiam-1 missile.”

Britain initially included a condemnation of Iran in its draft resolution to extend sanctions and the mandate for the panel of experts to continue their work — but dropped it because of Russian opposition.

But the British draft still expressed “particular concern” at the experts’ report that “weapons of Iranian origin were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo, and that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance” with the 2015 arms embargo. The draft pledged action against violators.

Before the vote, Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen said the British draft reflected the panel’s “very serious concerns” and “makes clear Iranian non-compliance.”

He urged council member not to “shy away from calling out those who violate” sanctions.

But Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow objected to the panel’s “selective and contentious conclusions” which have not been verified or corroborated.

He called the British draft “dangerous” and warned that it would “escalate regional tensions.”

Immediately after the British draft was vetoed, a rival Russian draft that made no mention of Iran or the panel of experts’ report but simply extended sanctions against Yemen until Feb. 26, 2019 and the mandate of the panel of experts until March 28, 2019 was put to a vote. It was adopted unanimously.