US wants UN action over report on Iranian missiles to Yemen

Nikki Haley says world cannot continue to allow Tehran’s ‘blatant violations’ of Security Council resolutions

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens during a Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, January 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens during a Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, January 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

UNITED NATIONS, United States — US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Thursday that it was “time for the Security Council to act” following the release of a report by UN experts concluding that Iran had violated the arms embargo on Yemen.

The report found that Tehran had failed to block supplies to Yemen’s Houthi rebels of ballistic missiles that were fired at Saudi Arabia.

“This report highlights what we’ve been saying for months: Iran has been illegally transferring weapons in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions,” Haley said in a statement.

The ambassador added that “the world cannot continue to allow these blatant violations to go unanswered” and that Tehran must face “consequences.”

“It’s time for the Security Council to act,” she added.

Iran has strongly denied arming the Houthis and has accused Haley of presenting “fabricated” evidence that a November 4 missile fired at Riyadh airport was Iranian-made.

Illustrative: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Diplomats said the Iranian violations are likely to be addressed in a draft resolution renewing sanctions on Yemen that the council is set to adopt later this month.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will present the United Nations with proof of Iran’s involvement in last weekend’s clashes, during which Israel downed a drone said to be sent by Tehran, and struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria. An Israeli F-16 was downed by Syrian anti-aircraft fire in the course of the Israeli retaliatory strikes, and crashed in Israel. The two pilots ejected.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres and with the chairman of the board of management of BMW, during the two-day Munich Security Conference.

It remains unclear, however, if Russia will back any move that punishes Iran.

Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia last month cast doubt over the report’s findings, which AFP first reported on in January when the document was confidentially sent to the Security Council.

While the report found that Iran had violated the 2015 embargo, the panel of UN experts said they were not able to identify the supplier.

Russia has the power to block sanctions by using its veto power it enjoys as one of the five permanent Security Council members, along with Britain, China, France and the United States.

Judah Ari Gross and Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

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