The United States, France and Britain have accused Iran and Russia of violating a UN Security Council resolution over the transfer of drones from Tehran to Moscow, which its military later uses to attack Ukrainian cities repeatedly.
The three powers said Thursday that Tehran and Moscow violated obligations under UN Resolution 2231, which enshrined the 2015 Iran nuclear deal into international law, and by carrying out the drone transfers without prior UN Security Council approval, they had violated the resolution.
They urged the UN to address the alleged violations during the biannual meeting on the implementation of the resolution.
“Specifically, the UN secretariat should send, without further delay, a team of investigators to Kyiv to examine the remains of these weapons used by Russia against Ukraine,” said US envoy Robert Wood, adding that the UN secretary-general UN Chairman Antonio Guterres should update the Council on his assessment of the recovered Iranian drones in Ukraine in the next 30 days.
So far, Guterres has resisted calls to send a team of experts, saying his office is still reviewing available information.
The Russian envoy said that under Resolution 2231, the UN chief has no authority to send experts. Vassily Nebenzia said the United Nations must refrain from “non-consensual visits and arbitrary inspections.”
“The Secretary-General is perfectly aware of our position on the matter,” he added.
Last month, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Moscow had received hundreds of Iranian drones and was working with Iran to start producing them in Russia, possibly early next year.
“This is in flagrant violation of Resolution 2231,” Wood told council members of those plans. “We should not be shy about condemning this destabilizing and dangerous behavior.”
Nebenzia dismissed the alleged Western evidence as “comic in nature” and said his American counterpart’s remarks were an attempt to “divert attention from the endless flows of weapons provided by Washington to the Kyiv regime.” But she did not directly address whether Moscow had received the drones from Iran.
The meeting was contentious from the start. Russia tried to block Ukraine’s participation in the session, as it is not part of the Iran nuclear deal and is not a member of the Council. However, 12 out of 15 Council members voted for Ukraine to participate in the session under a procedural rule that allows countries whose direct interests are affected to do so.
Ukraine’s ambassador said more than 1,000 Iranian drones had been launched against Ukrainian cities as of Thursday, and the debris collected had been thoroughly studied.
“Ukrainian investigators and independent international experts have identified evidence confirming the Iranian origin of the UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] used by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said.
He asked the Russian ambassador if he considers the evidence against Moscow false, why he opposes a UN inspection to corroborate his position.
Iran’s envoy also denied the accusations, saying he would not acknowledge the presence of the Ukrainian envoy at the meeting.
“Iran categorically rejects Ukraine’s baseless accusation,” Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said. “Iran maintains its impartial stance on the Ukrainian conflict. We have patiently awaited the alleged evidence from Ukraine after the preliminary meeting between Iranian and Ukrainian experts.”
In addition to the drone issue, several Council members expressed concern about Iran’s growing reserves of enriched uranium, already 21 times the amount allowed in the 2015 nuclear deal.
Voice of America News