UN report finds Iran in violation of Yemen arms embargo

Iran has violated a UN arms embargo by failing to block supplies to Yemen's Houthi rebels, according to a UN expert's report. (Lockheed Martin)
Updated 12 January 2018
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UN report finds Iran in violation of Yemen arms embargo

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has violated a UN arms embargo by failing to block supplies to Yemen's Houthi rebels of ballistic missiles that were fired at Saudi Arabia, according to a UN experts' report seen by AFP on Friday.
The finding is expected to bolster accusations from the US and Saudi Arabia that Iran has supplied weaponry to the Houthis in their war against the Saudi-led coalition.
"The panel has identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo," said the report presented to the Security Council.
"As a result, the panel finds that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of resolution 2216" that imposed the ban on arms sales to Yemen in 2015, said the 79-page report presented on Tuesday.
Iran has strongly denied arming the Houthis and last month accused US Ambassador Nikki Haley of presenting "fabricated" evidence that a November 4 missile fired at Riyadh airport was Iranian-made.
Haley told the Security Council last month that the United States will push for action against Iran for providing missiles that have been fired at its ally, but Russia quickly signalled that it would not endorse such plans.
While the experts pointed to the Iranian origin of the missiles, they were unable to identify the supplier and stressed that Iran had failed to provide information to the panel.
Iran "failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of Borkan-2H short-range ballistic missiles, field storage tanks for liquid bio-propellant oxidizer for missiles and Ababil-T (Qasef-1) unmanned aerial vehicles to the then Houthi-Saleh alliance," said the report.
The UN experts traveled to Saudi Arabia in November and again last month to inspect the remnants of missiles fired by the Houthis in May, July, November and December. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015.
More than 8,750 people have died in the war and the country is facing what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
 


Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

Updated 53 min 4 sec ago
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Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

  • Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of drone attack
  • Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year

Iran said on Tuesday that a US decision to impose sanctions on the country’s supreme leader and other top officials permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet.
“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

US President Donald Trump earlier signed an executive order that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes.

Trump initially told reporters the sanctions, which will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office, were in response to Tehran's downing of a US drone last week. Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace, which Washington has denied.

Later, Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin told reporters Zarif would be added to an economic sanctions list "later this week," adding that eight top military commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards have now also been blacklisted.

The US has also blamed Iran for attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.

Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. Trump’s administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.

The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region.

The US also accuses Iran of encouraging allies in Yemen to attack Saudi targets. In a joint statement on Monday, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and UK expressed concern over Middle East tensions and the dangers posed by Iranian "destabilizing activity" to peace and security in Yemen and the region.