Outgoing US envoy says UN needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo

Power: "Israel reported to the UN that Iran uses commercial flights to supply arms to Hezbollah. According to the Secretary General's report, Iran did not even deny these allegations."

By REUTERS
January 19, 2017 08:44
2 minute read.

Outgoing US envoy says UN needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo

Outgoing US envoy says UN needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo

The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing US Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid UN concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

Most UN sanctions were lifted a year ago under a deal Iran made with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program. But Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the nuclear agreement.

In her last appearance at a public Security Council meeting before US President Barack Obama's administration steps aside on Friday, Power said that recognizing "progress on Iran's nuclear issues should not distract this council from Iran's other actions that continue to destabilize the Middle East."

Under a Security Council resolution enshrining the 2015 deal, the UN secretary-general is required to report every six months on any violations of sanctions still in place.

UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman briefed the 15-member council on the second UN report and said there had been no reports of nuclear-related or ballistic missile-related violations of the council resolution.

However, the report expressed concern that Iran may have violated the resolution by supplying arms to Hezbollah. Iran's senior nuclear negotiator said in 2015 that Tehran had no intention of complying with the arms embargo or ballistic missile restrictions. Power stated, "Israel has also reported to the UN that Iran uses commercial flights to supply arms to Hezbollah. According to the Secretary General's report, Iran did not even deny these allegations when the UN asked about them."

"We on the council need to come together to push Iran to effectively implement the binding provisions of resolution 2231 - especially restrictions that ban Iran's export of arms and related material," said Power. She did not specify how.

The council could impose further sanctions over breaches of the arms embargo, but Russia and China - which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain - were unlikely to agree to such a move, diplomats said.

US President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to scrap the nuclear agreement or seek a better deal. Trump's nominee to replace Power, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, said it would be better to review the deal rather than withdraw from it.

She also told lawmakers at her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that Iran should be held accountable for sanctions violations. She said: "Anytime that we put sanctions forward we should follow through on those when there are violations."


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