The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would condemn Iran for violating the arms embargo on Yemen, and call for measures to address this violation, according to the text obtained by AFP on Monday.
The proposed resolution, drafted by Britain, is in response to a report by a UN panel of experts, which found that missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran.
The Security Council is expected to vote on the draft later this month, but it remains unclear whether Russia would back any move that punishes Iran.
The text “condemns” Iran for violating the 2015 arms embargo on Yemen by “failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles, drones and other military equipment to the Houthis.
The draft resolution, backed by the United States and France, specifies that “these violations … require a further response from the council; and further decides to take additional measures to address these violations.”
While the text presented to the council on Friday does not provide details on those measures, it does specify that “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen” is criteria for sanctions.
The report by the UN experts bolstered US and Saudi claims that Iran was arming the Houthis, despite Tehran’s strong denials.
While the report found that Tehran had violated the 2015 embargo by failing to block the shipments of equipment made in Iran, the experts said they were unable to identify the supplier.
Reining in Iran
Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has raised questions about the experts’ findings, which AFP first reported in January when the document was confidentially sent to the council.
Russia has the power to block sanctions by resorting to its veto as one of the five permanent Security Council members, along with Britain, China, France, and the United States.
In a New York Times editorial published over the weekend, US Ambassador Nikki Haley made the case that UN action against Iran could help prevent a military confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“By confirming that Iran is the source of the missiles and other weaponry fired into Saudi Arabia, the UN panel has given the world a chance to act before a missile hits a school or a hospital and leads to a dangerous military escalation that provokes a Saudi military response,” Haley wrote.
“Today, armed with this evidence, we have the chance to rein in Iran’s behavior and demand that it live up to its international agreements that discourage conflict.”
Haley last month took Security Council ambassadors to a warehouse near Washington to inspect debris from missiles fired at Saudi Arabia last year that the United States says were supplied by Iran to the Houthis.
The missile components and other weaponry were collected by Saudi Arabia.
After the visit, Russia’s ambassador remained unconvinced.
Asked whether the case had been made for action against Iran, Nebenzia answered “no.”
The resolution would also renew UN sanctions on Yemen for another year, until February 26, 2019.