US seeks to boost case against Iran with UN envoys’ Washington visit

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, addresses a recent gathering at the UN headquarters in New York. (AFP(
Updated 27 January 2018
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US seeks to boost case against Iran with UN envoys’ Washington visit

NEW YORK: The US will seek to boost its case for UN action against Iran when Security Council envoys visit Washington on Monday to view pieces of weapons that US Ambassador Nikki Haley says Tehran gave to Yemen’s Houthi group.
Haley and her 14 council colleagues will also lunch with President Donald Trump, the US Mission to the UN said.
The Trump administration has for months been lobbying for Iran to be held accountable at the UN, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.
The UN ambassadors will visit a military hangar at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling near Washington, where Haley, the US envoy to the UN, last month presented remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Nov. 4 at Riyadh, as well as other weapons.
Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with such weaponry and described the arms displayed in Washington as “fabricated.”
However, experts reported to the Security Council this month that Iran had violated UN sanctions on Yemen because “it failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles and other equipment to the Iran-allied Houthi group.
The independent experts said they had “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.”
Haley said last month she was exploring several UN options for pressuring Iran to “adjust their behavior.”
But she is likely to struggle to convince some Security Council members, like veto powers Russia and China, that UN action is needed.
Most sanctions on Iran were lifted at the start of 2016 under the nuclear deal, which is enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. The resolution still subjects Tehran to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions that are technically not part of the nuclear deal.
Haley has said the Security Council could strengthen the provisions in that resolution or adopt a new resolution banning Iran from all activities related to ballistic missiles. To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor, and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, China or Russia.
Under the current resolution, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years. Some states argue that the language of the resolution does not make it obligatory.
A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.”
The US could propose people or entities to be blacklisted by the council’s Yemen sanctions committee, a closed-door move that would need consensus approval by the 15-members.
Diplomats say Haley has not signaled which accountability option she might pursue or when.


Qatari tribe continues campaign for justice at UN in Geneva

Updated 58 min 47 sec ago
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Qatari tribe continues campaign for justice at UN in Geneva

  • Al-Ghufran traibe present their case in front of the international community to hold Qatar accountable
  • The tribe revealed the crimes against humanity committed by Qatari authorities

GENEVA: Members of a tribe persecuted for more than 20 years by authorities in Qatar appealed for help on Friday from the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
It was the latest stage in a campaign for justice by the Al-Ghufran tribe, whose members have been stripped of their nationality and suffered torture, forced displacement and deportation.
A delegation from the tribe has taken their case to the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. They said they sought international assistance only after years of being ignored by the government of Qatar, and when they realized that the Qatari Human Rights Council was in league with the regime in Doha to deny them their rights as Qatari citizens.
A member of the tribe, Gaber Saleh Al-Ghufrani, also appealed to the people of Qatar for help. “We call on the elders of the honorable Al-Thani family and to the generous and righteous people of Qatar and to the Al Murrah tribe, known for their nobility and chivalry,” he said.
“We call on you as your brothers, young and old, elders and children, men and women, inside and outside Qatar, and we appeal to your proud Arab origin because the Qatari government has let us down, made untrue claims about us and stripped us of our rights.
“We have been subjected to much injustice and humiliation in our homeland from those who, unfortunately, we thought to be virtuous. We have been discriminated against in the most painful of ways; they have stripped us of our dignity.
“We chose to go to the United Nations and to the international human rights organizations only after the government of our own country closed all ways of appeal, and did not engage or listen to our demands.”
The tribe’s ordeal began in 1996, when some of their members voiced support for Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the Qatari emir deposed the previous year by his son Hamad, father of the current emir, Sheikh Tamim.
About 800 Al-Ghufran families, more than 6,000 people, were stripped of their citizenship and had their property confiscated. Many remain stateless, both in Qatar and in neighboring Gulf countries.
“They have taken away our social, political and economic rights,” said
Jabir bin Saleh Al-Ghufrani, a tribal elder, at a press conference on Thursday. “The Al-Ghufran tribe has been subjected to unjust treatment.
“I left on a vacation in 1996, and now I can never go back to my country. I can go to any place on this earth, but not my home, not Qatar.”
Members of the delegation produced passports, certificates and other documents to show that their right to Qatari citizenship was being denied.
“I ask for my rights. Our people have been asking for our rights for a very long time now and no one has even explained to us why this is happening to us,” said Hamad Khaled Al-Araq.
Another member of the tribe, Hamad Khaled Al-Marri, said on Friday:
“Our issue with the Qatar regime is purely humanitarian and not political, this is why we came here to present our case and our demands to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our demands are clear: The Qatar regime should be held accountable for the crimes that it has committed against us and other Qataris, and the restoration of our rights.”