UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine has accused Iran of violating a U.N. Security Council ban on the transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles capable of flying 300 kilometers and invited U.N. experts to visit the country to inspect Iranian-origin drones used by Russia against civilian targets.
The Associated Press has obtained a letter from Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and members of the U.N. Security Council ahead of a closed-door meeting of the council Wednesday, requested by Britain, France and the United States on Iran’s sale of hundreds of drones to Russia.
US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the United States would join Britain and France in raising the issue at the council meeting.
Kyslytsya tweeted on Wednesday that the issue of Iran’s drones being used against civilians and civilian infrastructure would also be raised at the council’s open meeting on Ukraine on Friday.
Russia is believed to have sent waves of Iranian Shahed drones into Ukraine to attack power plants, residential buildings and other key infrastructure in Kiev, the capital and other cities.
Ukraine’s Western-reinforced air defenses have made it difficult for Russian warplanes to operate, and killer drones are cheap weapons to seek out and destroy targets while spreading fear among soldiers and civilians.
“As we have seen over the past months, there is ample evidence that Russia is using drones from Iran in vicious and deliberate attacks against the people of Ukraine, including civilians and critical civilian infrastructure,” Patel said. “We will convey this serious concern about Russia’s procurement of these drones from Iran, in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.”
French UN Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere also told reporters on Wednesday that it “seems to be crystal clear” that Iran is violating the resolution.
The UN’s most powerful body adopted Resolution 2231 in 2015 to support the nuclear deal between Iran and six key countries – the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear activities and preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal known as the JCPOA in 2018, and talks between the Biden administration and Iran to have the United States rejoin the deal have stalled.
Under the resolution, a conventional arms embargo on Iran was in place until October 2020, but restrictions on missiles and related technologies last until October 2023, which Western diplomats say includes the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.
“We believe that these drones that have been transferred from Iran to Russia and are being used by Russia in Ukraine are among the weapons that would remain embargoed under 2231,” Patel said on Monday.
Kyslytsya said in the letter that according to public information, “Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of the Mohajer and Shahed series were transferred from Iran to Russia” in late August, and “Ukraine estimates that this is likely part of Iranian plans to export hundreds of UAVs to Russia.” ”
He said that both models of drones meet the requirement to be banned because they have a range equal to or greater than 300 kilometers. In addition, the Mohajer series is manufactured by Qods Aviation, which is on the UN sanctions blacklist and subject to asset freezes by all countries, he said.
The Ukrainian ambassador said that no country has submitted a request to the UN for approval of the delivery of drones.
“Therefore, transfers from Iran to Russia should be considered a violation of (resolution) 2231,” Kyslytsya said.
He called on UN experts monitoring Iran sanctions to visit Ukraine “as soon as possible” to review the recovered drones, saying the government hoped the information would be “useful” in UN investigations into the implementation of the resolution.
French ambassador to the UN Nicolas De Riviere said: “It seems crystal clear that delivery has been issued in 2021, supporting the JCPOA.
Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington