U.S. demands crackdown on Iranian arms in Syria
Rebel fighters look at the pro-government forces' positions through a window as they hold a position in an empty room in the Salaheddine district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on July 9, 2013. (Source: AFP/JM LOPEZ)
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Tougher U.N. action on Iran’s arms supplies to Syria should be implemented, the United States said on Monday, leading Western calls to confront Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
The U.S. government called on the U.N. Security Council and its sanctions committee to tackle Iran’s alleged breach of U.N. measures with “increased vigor,” AFP news agency reported.
“The committee should also address the steady of flow of Iranian arms, military support, advisors and training to groups in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, Iraq and beyond,” said U.S. acting ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo.
Iran has long supplied weapons to President Bashar al-Assad’s government “knowing they would be used to massacre the Syrian people,” DiCarlo told a Security Council meeting.
“This council must tackle with renewed urgency, Iranian military assistance to Hezbollah and other armed terrorist groups and should also consider the impact of Iran’s actions on the sovereign rights of other countries, especially Lebanon,” she said.
In January, Iranian arms were seized off the Yemen coast. The U.S. envoy said this “was more than just a sanctions violation, it was an aggressive act to undermine Yemen’s transition.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s U.N. ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said there was “credible information that Iran is providing substantial military and financial support to Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in contravention of the UN embargo on arms exports by Iran.”
French political counselor, Philippe Bertoux, also said that the council must “assume its responsibilities” over Iran’s sanctions breaches, AFP reported.
No Iranian representatives were at the meeting.
The calls came as Russia, backed by China, refused to declare Tehran’s missile launches a violation of the U.N. restrictions, as a U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran said was the case.
A Russian delegate explained Moscow’s position to the Security Council, saying “hasty conclusions not based on facts must be avoided.”
A Chinese delegate reiterated Beijing’s stance: “We are not in favor of increased new pressure or new sanctions against Iran.”
U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo told reporters, “We’re disappointed that the (Iran sanctions) committee was unable in this case to state the obvious.”
“There is nothing ambiguous about the ban imposed by the Security Council on such ... missile launches,” she said. “Most of the Security Council members agree with us on this issue.”