By Margaret Besheer
Ukraine has invited U.N. experts to examine debris from what it says are Iranian-made drones sold to Russia in violation of international sanctions and used to attack Ukrainian towns and cities.
In a letter sent to the president of the U.N. Security Council and seen by VOA, Ukraine’s ambassador says that according to public information, Russia has been receiving shipments of prohibited items from Iran since January 2016.
“Specifically, in late August 2022, Mohajer- and Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were transferred from Iran to Russia,” Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said in the letter. “Ukraine assesses that this is likely part of Iran’s plans to export hundreds of UAVs to Russia.”
In recent weeks, Ukraine has repeatedly reported Russian attacks on its cities using Iran’s Shahed-136 drones. Iran denies equipping Russia with its drones.
Kyslytsya noted that both the Mohajer and Shahed drones are manufactured by Qods Aviation, which is subject to an international asset freeze under Security Council Resolution 2231.
The council adopted that resolution in 2015, codifying the international agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, but certain restrictions remain in place.
Resolution 2231 allows for transfers of restricted items to or from Iran only when approved on a case-by-case basis by the Security Council. No such approval has been sought.
“Therefore, the transfers from Iran to Russia should be considered as violations of UNSCR 2231,” Kyslytsya wrote.
On Monday, Washington said Iran’s actions violate Resolution 2231.
“Earlier today, our French and British allies publicly offered the assessment that Iran’s supply of these UAVs to Russia is a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, and this is something that we agree with,” deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.
Diplomats said Tuesday that the United States, Britain and France have requested that the U.N. Security Council discuss the Iranian drone issue in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters that the Iranians “have not been truthful about this and deny providing weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.”
Jean-Pierre said the United States will enforce sanctions on Russian and Iranian arms trade and “make it harder for Iran to sell these weapons to Russia.”