Russia vetoed Monday a UN draft resolution presented by Britain and strongly backed by the United States that would have pressured Iran over allegations of violating an arms embargo on Yemen.
The text, which was backed by France, other European countries and Kuwait, won 11 favorable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was blocked by Russia’s veto.
China and Kazakhstan abstained, while Bolivia also voted against the measure.
Nine votes and no vetoes from the five permanent council members — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States — are required to adopt resolutions at the Security Council.
A report by a UN panel of experts in January accused Iran of violating arms embargo on Yemen after claiming that missiles fired by the Houthi revolutionaries at Saudi Arabia last year – in retaliation for deadly strikes staged by Saudi-led coalition- were made in Iran.
After hours of negotiations in a bid to reach a compromise, Russia made clear it had strong reservations about the findings of the UN report and would not support a draft resolution that mentioned them.
“We cannot concur with uncorroborated conclusions and evidence which requires verification and discussions within the sanctions committee,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council.
Nebenzia warned that taking aim at Iran could have had “dangerous destabilizing ramifications” in the Middle East by exacerbating tensions between Shiites and Sunnis.
After the veto, the council unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted measure that extended for one year the sanctions regime against Yemen, but that text made no mention of Iran.
Iran has repeatedly denied arming Yemen revolutionaries, stressing that such accusations have been baseless, and lashing out at the international community for Turing a blind eye on the US and Britain for selling Saudi Arabia arms that could be used to commit war crimes in the Arab impoverished country.
Yemen has been since March 2015 under a brutal aggression, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians.
The Saudi-led coalition – which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait – has been also imposing a blockade on the impoverished country’s ports and airports as a part of the aggression.