Russia vetoes UN resolution on Iran and Houthis

Published On: February 27, 2018 09:12 AM NPT By: Agencies

Feb 27: Russia on Monday used its veto power at the UN Security Council to block a draft resolution presented by Britain that would have pressured Iran over its failure to block supplies of missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

The text, strongly supported by the United States, won 11 favorable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was blocked by Russia's veto, reported AFP.

China and Kazakhstan abstained, while Bolivia also voted against the measure.

Nine votes and no vetoes from the five permanent council members -- Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States -- are required to adopt resolutions at the Security Council.

After the veto, the council unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted measure that extended for one year the sanctions regime against Yemen, but which made no mention of Iran.

Britain had sought to include in its measure an expression of "particular concern" from the council over a UN report that found Iran had violated the 2015 arms embargo on Yemen.

The report by a UN panel of experts in January concluded that Iran was in violation after determining that missiles fired by the Houthis at Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley recently brought Security Council envoys to a U.S. military base in Washington to view missile parts that the U.S. calls evidence of Iran’s illicit transferof prohibited missiles to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Trump administration maintains that fragments from those missiles, recovered in Saudi Arabia after being launched from Yemen by the Houthis, contain markings proving they were Iranian-made, though some security experts have questioned whether the evidence is foolproof. Iran denies it is backing the Houthis.

Russia dismissed the evidence presented by Haley, insisting that it was unclear whether missiles and weaponry used by the rebels were sent by Iran or whether they were shipped before the arms embargo on Yemen was imposed in 2015.

After hours of negotiations to try to reach a compromise on Monday, Russia made clear it had strong reservations about the findings of the report and would not support a draft resolution that mentioned them.

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

After the Russian veto, Haley released a statement accusing Russia of protecting "the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran" and warned of further action targeting Iran.

"If Russia is going to use its veto to block action against Iran's dangerous and destabilizing conduct, then the United States and our partners will need to take actions against Iran that the Russians cannot block," said Haley.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Most recently, the Houthi rebels threatened to prevent international boats from passing through the Red Sea if the Saudi-led Arab coalition continues its attacks on the rebels.

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