Russia opposes Western bid to ‘condemn’ Iran at UN over Yemen

TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (MNA) – Russia has voiced opposition to a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, drafted by Western powers, on renewing anti-Yemen sanctions, which also seeks a “condemnation” of Iran for allegations of violating an arms embargo on the war-torn Arabian Peninsula state.

During a Wednesday meeting of the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that instead of targeting Iran, the UN’s proposed measure should focus on the issue of sanctions against Yemen.

“We do not like condemnations at all, no, in general,” AFP quoted Nebenzia as saying. “It is a resolution about the extension of the working group, not about Iran. So we should concentrate on extending the working group first,” he added.

Nebenzia was referring to the working group of independent experts who oversee the implementation of sanctions against Yemen.

Last week, Britain circulated a draft resolution that would renew sanctions on Yemen for another year and also “condemns” Iran for allegedly breaching the 2015 arms embargo on the country by "failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer" of short-range ballistic missiles, UAVs and other military equipment to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthi movement has been defending Yemen against a bloody Saudi-led military campaign, which was launched in 2015 with the help of the US and the UK to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-friendly government.

The draft resolution, backed by France and the US, calls for unspecified measures in response to the UN report about Iran’s alleged role in Yemen, stressing that the UNSC will take “additional measures to address these violations,” and that “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen” is a criterion for sanctions.

The UNSC is expected to vote on the draft resolution next week.

Reuters quoted a senior UN diplomat as saying on condition of anonymity that, “it is fair to say the draft is not one the Russians are currently supportive of and they have made their views clear.

Another unnamed diplomat also said Moscow views the text as “unacceptable.”

In a Wednesday meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Iran’s permanent representative to the world body, Gholam Ali Khoshroo, also warned the Security Council that its support for any unilateral measure can aggravate the situation in Yemen.

Earlier this week, Tehran rejected fresh allegations by the UK and France of Iranian missile delivery to Yemen as “foolish” as the war-torn country has been kept under an all-out siege by the Saudi regime and its allies.

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