Saturday, February 4, 2023

UN examining data over alleged Iran’s arms sales to Russia

The United Nations is examining "available information" about accusations that Iran supplied Russia with drones, the world body's Secretary-General has said. Antonio Guterres is under Western pressure to send experts to Ukraine to inspect downed drones.

In a report to the Security Council dated Tuesday, seen by Reuters, Guterres said of the drone accusations: “The Secretariat is examining the available information. Any findings will be reported to the Security Council, as appropriate, in due course.”

Britain, Germany and France all wrote to Guterres this week asking for an update on plans to send UN experts to Ukraine, according to letters seen by Reuters. Russia also wrote twice to Guterres in response, accusing the trio of violating the UN Charter by trying to exert influence over the UN chief.

When asked whether a visit by UN experts to Ukraine was planned, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment.

Russia argues that there is no mandate for Guterres to send UN experts to Ukraine to investigate the origin of the drones. Iran denies supplying the drones to Moscow, and Russia has denied its forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

In the nine-month-old conflict, Ukraine has accused Russia of using drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – to hit energy infrastructure and other targets.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Ukraine say the supply of Iranian-made drones to Russia violates a 2015 UN Security Council resolution enshrining the Iran nuclear deal.

Dismissing the “baseless allegations” made by the European troika and the US against Iran, the Iranian envoy to the UN, Saeed Iravani, has stated any linkage between the Security Council Resolution 2231 and the use of UAVs in Ukraine is entirely artificial and based on undocumented information.

Iranian officials have rejected claims about Tehran’s weapons sales to Russia to be used in the ongoing war against Ukraine, stressing such allegations are aimed at legitimizing the West’s military assistance to Kiev.

In a phone conversation with Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on Friday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reiterated Iran’s opposition to the dispatch of weapons to the parties involved in the war which he said would only increase human losses and financial costs for both sides.

He added Tehran would continue its efforts to stop the war and promote lasting peace in Europe.

The Iranian foreign minister last month dismissed media controversy over Iran’s alleged support for Russia in the Ukraine war, adding, however, that Tehran had provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine.

He also assured that Iran will not be indifferent if it is proven that Russia has used Iranian drones in the conflict.

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