Russia is offering Iran an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support in breach of UN regulations, the UK ambassador to the UN said on Friday.
Speaking before a Security Council meeting requested by Russia to discuss western supplies of weapons to Ukraine, Britain's ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward accused Moscow of attempting to obtain more weapons — including hundreds of ballistic missiles — from Iran.
“We are concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with more advanced military components, which will allow Iran to strengthen their weapons capability,” said Ms Woodward.
“Iran’s weapons proliferation poses a real and significant threat well beyond the region, to the whole international community and jeopardises the work of the Security Council not only on Ukraine but on many other issues.”
Iran was the target of a conventional arms embargo put in place through UN Security Council Resolution 2231 in 2015.
Though the embargo was meant to last until October 2020, Ukraine and its western allies have argued that the resolution includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies until October 2023, and encompasses the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.
Ms Woodward said the UK Ministry of Defence had reported on Friday that, for the first time in three weeks, there have been reports of attacks by Iranian-made one-way unmanned aerial vehicles in Ukraine.
If verified, “it indicates that Russia has already received a resupply of Shahed-131s from Iran”. Due to this, Ms Woodward called for a UN investigation into the issue.
Russia has said that Secretary General Antonio Guterres has no mandate to send UN experts to Ukraine to investigate the origin of the drones.
At the Security Council meeting on Friday, Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia brought up the “continuous” supply of weapons sent to Ukraine by western countries.
He said “such a large-scale military support was probably never extended to any state in history” and wondered if Ukraine is the party that is actually fighting Russia.
Mr Nebenzia further warned that threats to international peace and security are growing because “western countries do not understand that they are fuelling the fire”.