Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Britain Provides UN with Evidence on Iran's Arms Violation

Britain Provides UN with Evidence on Iran's Arms Violation

Wednesday, 15 February, 2023 - 07:00
Iranian missiles and other weapons seized by HMS Montrose (UK Defense Ministry)

The British government on Tuesday said it presented evidence proving Iran has violated UN resolutions on the proliferation of weapons and linking the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the smuggling of weapon systems in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution.

In a statement, the British Defense Ministry said weapons seized by Royal Navy ship HMS Montrose, which have been presented to the UN as evidence, proved the IRGC is smuggling weapons in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.

Early in 2022, HMS Montrose seized Iranian weapons from speedboats operated by smugglers in international waters south of Iran. The items included surface-to-air-missiles and engines for land attack cruise missiles, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions 2231 and 2140, approved in 2015.

“The weapons were presented to representatives of the United Nations who provide an assessment of the conflict in Yemen and Iranian nuclear activity,” the statement said.

In December 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres referred to the seizure of Iranian arms in his UNSCR 2231 report. These interdictions are expected to also feature in the UNSCR 2140 annual report that will shortly be released.

“The UK is committed to upholding international law and will continue to counter Iranian activity that contravenes United Nations Security Council Resolutions and threatens peace across the world,” said Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

“That is why we have a permanent Royal Navy deployment in the Gulf region, conducting vital maritime security operations and working in support of an enduring peace in Yemen,” he added.

For his part, British Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Tariq Ahmad said: “Once again, the Iranian regime has been exposed for its reckless proliferation of weapons and destabilizing activity in the region.”

The minister also mentioned Iran’s sustained military support to the Houthis and its continued violation of the arms embargo has stoked further conflict and undermined UN-led peace efforts.

“The UK will continue to act to protect the security of our partners and hold Iran to account,” Lord Ahmad said.

Meanwhile, a key piece of evidence presented by the UK was a commercial quadcopter drone designed for reconnaissance activities.

According to the British statement, “by decrypting the internal memory of the uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) controllers, the UK Ministry of Defense discovered the records of 22 test flights conducted at the IRGC Aerospace Force Headquarters and test facility in western Tehran.”

It said the UAV was in the same shipment as a number of Surface to Air Missiles and components for the Iranian Project 351 land attack cruise missile.

“This evidence indicated a direct link between the Iranian state and the smuggling of missile systems being used by the Houthis to attack the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” read the statement.

The Ministry added that the threat posed by long range weapons made in Iran is not limited to the Middle East.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, it said Iran has supplied attack drones to Russia in violation of UNSCR 2231.

“These attacks have killed civilians and damaged critical national infrastructure (such as power substations) far from the front lines of the conflict,” the Defense Ministry statement affirmed.

The statement comes in light of a heated debate within the British government regarding the classification of the Revolutionary Guards on the terrorist list.

The Times newspaper reported that the government “temporarily” halted a plan to classify Iran’s Guards on the terrorist list due to disagreements between the British Foreign Office and the Ministry of Home Security.

The Foreign Office had earlier blocked a plan that would have led to Iran’s IRGC proscribed as a terrorist organization, citing the need to keep communication channels with Tehran open as relations between the two countries continue on a downward spiral.

Editor Picks