U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is demanding the U.N. act in the wake of a report showing Iranian weapons and ballistic missile were taken into Yemen even after a 2015 arms embargo -- the latest evidence of Iran’s broader disregard for U.N. resolutions.
The report from the U.N. Panel of Experts was released Thursday and found that Iran had violated U.N. resolutions by failing to take “necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of missile remnants, military equipment and drones to rebel Houthi forces.
Specifically, it violated Resolution 2216, which imposed an arms embargo on the war-torn country, which has been plagued by civil war along with famine and a cholera outbreak.
The U.S. hailed the report as more evidence of the destabilizing influence of Iran in the region through its proxies.
“This report highlights what we’ve been saying for months: Iran has been illegally transferring weapons in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions,” Haley said in a statement. “The United States will continue to call out Iran’s dangerous actions, but the world cannot continue to allow these blatant violations to go unanswered. Iran needs to know that there are consequences for defying the international community.”
“It’s time for the Security Council to act,” she added.
A statement from the U.S. mission said the report “validates the United States’ concerns about growing Iranian destabilizing behavior and violations of international norms and UN resolutions.”
The Trump administration has been pushing hard against Iran over violations of sanctions, and has also shown skepticism about the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- known as the Iran nuclear deal.
It was not clear if the U.S. calls would be picked up by fellow Security Council members.
One Security Council diplomat told Fox News that they expect it to be difficult to get any action against Iran as “The Council needs to be sure of who the supplier is. [The report] names Iran as the place of origin but not the supplier.”
However, another council diplomat stated, “We need to reflect the very serious facts in the Yemen Panel of Experts report, and send a very clear message about that. (It) destabilizes Yemen which is against all of our interests.”
An Iranian official told CBS News that the report was “politically motivated.”
Trump has so far stopped short of carrying out a threat to pull the U.S. out of the deal, but has warned that he will if other countries cannot work with the U.S. on making the deal stronger.
“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: Either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” Trump said in January.
For some critics of the Iran deal, the Yemen report had implications for the 2015 deal as well -- namely a clause in the U.N. resolution that rubber-stamped the Iran deal. That clause requires states to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms from Iran for five years.
“Iran's arms shipments to Yemen don't just violate U.N. restrictions directly related to Yemen, but also the U.N. resolution about the nuclear deal,” Omri Ceren, an Iran expert and managing director at The Israel Project, a Washington-based organization that works with journalists on Middle East issues, told Fox News.
“Clearly neither of these are enough to prevent Iran's arms smuggling, and that's because the nuclear deal requires the US to keep our most effective sanctions on the sidelines. President Trump has called upon Congress and Europe to fix that by incorporating missile restrictions into the nuclear deal, and he says he'll withdraw the U.S. if they don't. Otherwise the nuclear deal will keep protecting Iran's violations.”
The Trump administration announced this month that it was slapping fresh sanctions on Hezbollah-linked individuals and businesses in Africa and the Middle East -- a move to limit not only the operations of the terrorist group, but also Iran’s influence in the region.
The Security Council will meet later this month to discuss Yemen.
Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed reporting from the United Nations.