Iran and the US clash over Russia’s use of drones from Iran in Ukraine

America and its allies clashed over claims by Iran and Russia that Tehran supplies Moscow drones used in attacking Ukraine. The U.S. accuses the U.N. Secretary-General of failing to investigate and “yielding” to Russian threats.

Monday’s contentious Security Council meeting was about the resolution endorsing 2015 Iran-Six Major Powers nuclear agreement. The United States and Iran accused one another of stalling negotiations to have the Biden administration resign from the 2018 deal that ex-President Donald Trump withdrew.

Iran’s U.N. Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani claimed that Iran’s negotiation team used “maximum flexibility” to try to achieve agreement and even offered an “innovative resolution to the remaining problems to break the impasse”. However, he said the US “unrealistic” and “rigorous approach” to 2015 negotiations on the JCPOA.

Iravani stated, “Let me be clear. Pressure, intimidation, and confrontation aren’t solutions. They will get you nowhere.”

Iravani stated that Iran was ready to resume negotiations and organize a ministerial meeting to “declare the JCPOA restore,” he said. This is possible if the U.S. shows genuine political will…The U.S. has now the ball in their court.

Robert Wood, U.S. Ambassador to Iran said that “the door remains open” to U.S. and Iranian negotiations for full implementation of JCPOA. He said that Iran’s actions and stances were responsible for the failure to achieve this outcome.

A September deal was reached that had been agreed upon by all parties. “Even Iran was prepared to agree to it,” Wood stated. “Until the very last moment, Iran demanded new terms that were not permitted under the JCPOA, and which it knew would be impossible to meet.”

According to him, Iran’s behavior since September, including its inability to cooperate with U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency and its expansion of its nuclear programme “for no legitimate civil purpose,” has increased U.S. doubts about Iran’s ability and willingness to reach a deal. This explains the lack of active negotiations.

Wood, at the conclusion of the council meeting asked Wood for permission to speak. He stated that Iran’s demands extraneous and refusal of any compromises are why the JCPOA has been rejected.

Wood stated, “So let’s just say that the ball isn’t in America’s court.” Wood said, “On the contrary. The ball is in Iran’s court.”

Britain’s U.N. British Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the U.N. that Iran’s nuclear escalation makes it “more difficult to progress on a nuclear agreement.”

She stated that Iran’s total enrichment uranium stocks exceed JCPOA limits at least 18x and continues to produce high-enriched uranium. This is unprecedented in a country without nuclear weapons programs.

Woodward also stated that the Iranian nuclear breakout time was reduced to just a few weeks and that Iran’s time to make fissile materials for nuclear weapons has been decreasing. She added that Iran is currently testing technology to enable intercontinental and intermediate range ballistic missiles with a nuclear payload.

Rosemary DiCarlo, U.N.’s political chief, told the council that “the space to diplomacy seems to be rapidly shrinking.”

She referred to an IAEA document that Iran plans to put new centrifuges in its Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, and produce more uranium enrichment up to 60% at Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. This is a similar level to what would be required to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has also taken all IAEA equipment that monitors JCPOA activities.

DiCarlo urged Iran to reverse any steps that were outside the JCPOA limit, as well as for the United States and Canada to lift the sanctions against Iran set out in the nuclear agreement and to extend waivers to Iranian oil trading.

Iran’s Iravani stressed that Iran’s nukes are “peaceful” and stated Iran was ready to work with the IAEA on any outstanding nuclear safeguards issues.

Concerning the “unfounded claim” that Iran had transferred drones from Iran to Russia, he said that the sanctions against Iran on arms transfers were lifted in October 2020. He said that Western claims that Tehran required prior approval were “without legal merit”.

Iravani insisted also that the drones had not been transferred to Russia to be used in Ukraine. He stated, “The misinformation campaign, baseless allegations… are only to distract attention from Western countries’ massive transfer to Ukraine of sophisticated, advanced weaponry in order to prolong this conflict.”

Russia’s U.N. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia described allegations that Iran delivered drones to Ukraine for its use as “patently concocted” and “false.” He said Russia was well aware of the fact that Ukrainian officials “have not been able to provide Tehran bilaterally any documentation which would corroborate Iranian-origin drone use.”

Wood, U.S. ambassador, stated to the council that the report by Ukraine of Iranian-origin drones being used in attacks on civilian infrastructure was supported by “ample evidence from multiple sources”, including the statement made by Iran’s foreign Minister on Nov. 5.

He maintained that Iran cannot transfer these drones without approval from the Security Council under an Annex to Resolution 2015.

Wood stated that for seven years the U.N. had been mandated to investigate reports of violations of the resolution. He expressed dismay at the U.N. Secretariat headed by Secretary-General Guterres not opening an investigation and “apparently bowing to Russian threats.”

Nebenzia, Russia, reiterated Moscow’s assertion that the investigations were an “egregious violation” of the resolutions and the U.N. Charter. “The U.N. Secretariat shouldn’t bow to Western pressure.”

Guterres stated earlier Monday that when asked about the criticisms that U.N. had not launched an investigation into Iranian-made drones in Ukraine he said that “We are investigating all aspects of this question” and that it was part of a larger picture that encompasses everything that we do in relation to war in order to decide if and when an investigation should be conducted.


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