Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution to Pressure Iran Over Yemen Missiles

Iran has denied providing military aid to the Houthis. But the United Nations panel of experts found in January that missiles fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia, including one that landed near the capital, Riyadh, appeared to have been manufactured in Iran.

Security Council diplomats struggled unsuccessfully to reach a compromise over the Russian objections to Britain’s draft, which identified Iran as an embargo violator.

Jonathan Allen, Britain’s deputy ambassador, told reporters that the draft had conveyed “the very serious concerns” relayed by the panel of experts and had made clear “Iranian noncompliance” with the embargo.


Yemeni tribesmen inspecting fragments of a missile launched by Houthi rebels and intercepted by the Saudi-led coalition’s air-defense forces.

Ali Owidha/Reuters

The Russians have said the evidence of Iran’s malfeasance is inconclusive. Iran has described the evidence as a fabrication concocted by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The United States ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, who has repeatedly sought to convince fellow diplomats that Iran has flouted the embargo, denounced the Russian veto. “In spite of a mountain of credible, independent evidence showing Iran violated the Yemen arms embargo, resulting in a series of attacks on civilian targets, Russia prevented accountability and endangered the entire region,” Ms. Haley said.

The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, dismissed the criticism.

“We did this not because we wished to bring about its demise,” he said of the arms embargo, “but rather because we did not reach consensus on some individual wording.” He expressed thanks for the unanimous approval of the Russian draft.

Security Council resolutions require at least nine votes for passage, with none of the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — voting no, which is an automatic veto.

Britain’s draft drew 11 yes votes and two no votes, from Russia and its frequent ally, Bolivia. China and Kazakhstan abstained.

The Trump administration has seized on the presence of Iranian weapons in Yemen as proof that Iran does not respect international agreements.

Ms. Haley has aggressively sought to isolate Iran over this issue. She took other Council members on a visit to Washington last month to inspect an exhibit of what American officials described as remnants of Iranian missile debris recovered in Saudi Arabia.

The failure of the Council to take a more assertive action on Yemen exposed divisions between Russia and the West over the causes of armed conflicts roiling the Middle East.

It took three days last week for the Council to agree on language demanding a cease-fire in the Syria war largely because of objections by Russia, which is President Bashar al-Assad’s principal ally in that conflict.

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