UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran is rejecting allegations that it transferred weapons to Islamic militants in Somalia as an “absurd fabrication.”
Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said in a letter to the UN Security Council obtained Thursday by The Associated Press that the allegations in a report by experts monitoring sanctions against Somalia and Eritrea were part of a “malicious campaign.”
According to a UN diplomat, the report links Iran and Yemen to the supply of weapons to al-Shabab militants. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been publicly released.
Khazaee said the monitoring group put forward “unfounded allegations and strange fabrications” in its report without first informing the Iranian government, and the contents were leaked “for propaganda purposes.”
He urged the sanctions committee to take “corrective measures.”
Somalia’s foreign minister urged the Security Council on Thursday to lift the 20-year-old arms embargo on the country so that its armed forces can fight off al-Qaeda linked militants and consolidate peace.
Fawzia Y.H. Adam, who is also deputy prime minister, told members that the government will institute measures “to ensure that armaments do not fall into the wrong hands.”
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has told the UN he wants rifles, light machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to fight the militants and ensure peace. The African Union has backed the lifting of the arms embargo.
On Saturday, Yemen’s interior minister said that an investigation had determined that Iranian-made missiles, rockets and other weapons confiscated on a vessel seized on a ship in Yemen last month and allegedly bound for Shiite insurgents there were exported from Iran.
Tehran denied the allegations.