Russia Moves to Veto UN Resolution Condemning Iran for Arming Rebels

Joy Montgomery
March 2, 2018

Gholamali Khoshroo made the remarks on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting on Monday to decide to extend the arms embargo on Yemen, which ended in a diplomatic victory for Russian Federation, dealing a blow to the British-drafted resolution and the United States.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.

Washington has charged Iran with supplying Yemen's Houthi rebels with arms including surface-to-surface missiles that have been used against countries supporting a Saudi-backed offensive against the militants.

Britain and other states wanted to include in the initial draft text of the resolution a condemnation of Iran for violating an arms embargo on Houthis.

Britain sought to focus attention on a report in January by the United Nations panel of experts monitoring sanctions against Iran that examined missile remnants fired into Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels a year ago and said many "are consistent with those of the Iranian designed and manufactured Qiam-1 missile".

The UN Security Council's condemnation of Iran for its destabilizing actions in Yemen was blocked by Russian Federation, its ally.

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

Haley has taken a hawkish stance on Iran, accusing Tehran of sowing instability in the Middle East and failing to live up to its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as an Iranian proxy.

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All 15 UNSC members voted in favor of the draft resolution on Yemen, put forward by Russian Federation as a compromise after it vetoed a rival, "antagonizing" draft submitted by the United Kingdom, that also drew criticism from China.

The 15-member Security Council has to renew its targeted sanctions on Yemen on Monday.

But Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the resolution was based on "selective and contentious conclusions" about Iran's involvement in the civil war between Yemen's Huthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government and would have had "dangerous, destabilizing ramifications" for the region. "This is perverse when, in fact, Russia's veto today serves only to protect Iran's efforts to destabilize the region and spread its malign influence".

Russia, which has traditionally friendly relations with Iran, is providing military support along with Tehran to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Yemen, the Arab world's most impoverished country with a population of 26 million, plunged into war in 2014 after the Huthis took over the capital, Sanaa, and forced the internationally recognized government to flee and seek support from neighboring Gulf Arab countries.

A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and USA ally Saudi Arabia.

The UN estimates that 17 million people in Yemen - 60 percent of the population - are in need of food aid, of whom 7 million are on the brink of starvation because of the conflict.

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