After UN defeat, US and allies condemn Iran over Yemen arms

Britain, France and Germany join Washington in slamming Tehran for destabilizing region, day after Russia vetoed softened Security Council resolution

Houthi fighters man an anti-aircraft gun during clashes with supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, December 2, 2017. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP)
Houthi fighters man an anti-aircraft gun during clashes with supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, December 2, 2017. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP)

UNITED NATIONS — The United States and three European allies condemned Iran on Tuesday after the United Nations found Tehran had violated the arms embargo on Yemen by failing to block supplies of missiles and drones to Houthi rebels.

Britain, France, Germany and the United States urged Iran to “immediately cease all activities that are inconsistent or would violate” the UN resolution that established the arms embargo in 2015.

The joint condemnation came a day after Russia vetoed a British-drafted resolution renewing sanctions on Yemen and citing “particular concern” for the report’s findings about Iran.

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

Russia, however, questioned the findings and blocked the resolution, saying the report did not contain conclusive evidence of Iran’s violation of the arms embargo.

“We condemn Iran’s non-compliance, as described by the panel, which poses serious risks to peace and stability in the region,” said the joint statement released by the US mission.

All four countries are signatories to the Iran nuclear deal.

A UN Security Council meeting on February 26, 2018. (Eskinder Debebe/UN)

The Russia veto was a setback for the United States as it pushes the Security Council to take a stronger stance toward Iran over its role in regional conflicts and missile tests.

The US administration maintains that Iran is not living up to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump has criticized as the “worst ever.”

The British-drafted resolution that was strongly backed by the United States was vetoed by Russia after 11 countries voted in favor at the 15-member Security Council.

China and Kazakhstan abstained and Bolivia voted against it.

Children play amid the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, September 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

An earlier version of the draft included a condemnation of Iran for failing to block the military supplies to the Houthis, but that was dropped from a final version that Russia nevertheless vetoed.

A Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015 in a war that has led to what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The council earlier heard the UN director of aid operations, John Ging, describe living conditions in Yemen as “catastrophic” after three years of war, with a growing risk of famine and a fierce outbreak of cholera.

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