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UN Council Extends Sanctions Regime on Yemen, Russia and China Abstain

The UN Security Council on Tuesday renewed its sanctions regime on Yemen for another year, after tense negotiations between the United Kingdom and Russia, the latter threatened to veto any mention, even implicit, of Iran in the resolution.

The resolution was passed on Tuesday by 13 votes in favor and two abstentions from Russia and China.

The council authorized a one-year extension of the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in 2014 on individuals or entities threatening peace, security and stability in Yemen, including the extension of the mandate for UN experts who monitor the arms embargo imposed in 2015.

During the Security Council negotiations, the U.K. initially abandoned any mention of Iran, after Russian had threatened to use its veto and offered a counterproposal. France and Belgium stepped in to mediate, leading the U.K. to agreeing to omit any reference to the arms possessed by the Houthis and their similarity to Iranian weapons, diplomats said.

A recent report from the UN said the Iran-backed Houthi rebels had, since 2019, held new weapons including drone and cruise missiles with “technical characteristics similar to arms” produced in Iran. The report did not say whether the weapons were delivered to the Houthis by the government in Tehran, which has repeatedly denied sending them.

The United States and other Western powers have long accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthis. “Not only does Iran continue supplying weapons to the Houthis, but they are also increasing the sophistication of these weapons,” U.S. diplomat Rodney Hunter told the Security Council on Tuesday.

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