In video: Putin landed in Iran for a meeting with Raisi and Erdogan (Photo: Reuters)
A report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regarding the implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran that will soon be forwarded to the Security Council and a copy of which came into my possession Walla! does not accuse Iran of supplying unmanned aerial vehicles (such as UAVs) to Russia for the war in Ukraine.
The UN Secretary General's decision comes after heavy pressure from Moscow and is a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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In recent weeks, the United States and the European powers - France, Great Britain and Germany - have pressured the UN Secretary General to open an investigation into the supply of Iranian drones to Russia and to determine that this is a violation of the Security Council's decision regarding the nuclear agreement.
Russia, for its part, exerted heavy counter-pressure and managed to prevent this.
Guterres avoided any decisive statement on the subject in the upcoming report.
The UN Secretary General details in the report a series of letters he received from the representatives of the USA, Ukraine, Great Britain, France and Germany in which they claimed that Iran provided drones to Russia "in a manner that is inconsistent" with the UN Security Council resolution 2231, which anchored the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Guterres writes in the report that he received letters from the representatives of Iran and Russia in which they denied the allegations and emphasized that even if Iran had supplied drones to Russia, this would not have been a violation of the Security Council resolution.
The UN's decision not to investigate the issue - a victory for the Russians. Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Reuters, Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel)
between the lines:
Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted in 2015 as part of the nuclear agreement with Iran, states that until October 2023 countries are prohibited from transferring to Iran or receiving from it ballistic missiles or UAVs with a range of more than 300 kilometers and with a warhead of more than 500 km "third.
The US and European powers claim that this ban applies to Iranian drones.
The Russians and Iranians claim that this is not the case.
If the UN determines that the transfer of the UAVs is a violation of the Security Council resolution, this will be a significant political embarrassment for Russia, which is a permanent member of the Security Council and continues to deny that it is using UAVs made by Iran in the war in Ukraine.
Iran admitted that it supplied a certain amount of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia but claims that it did so before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US claims that it has solid evidence that Iran supplied unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia after the start of the war.
Behind the Scenes:
Since October, the UN Secretary General has found himself caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the question of whether to send a delegation of UN experts to Ukraine to investigate the issue of the supply of Iranian UAVs to Russia, according to a series of official letters obtained by Walla!
and which document the contacts between Guterres and Russia and the European powers.
The US, France, Great Britain and Germany demanded that the UN Secretary General open an investigation, but Russia, for its part, claimed that Guterres had no authority to order such an investigation without an official decision of the Security Council - a decision over which Russia has the right to veto.
However, according to two Western diplomats, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and the UN Legal Adviser have given Guterres an opinion according to which he has a mandate to order the sending of a team of UN experts to Ukraine to conduct an investigation.
The two even clarified that there were precedents for this from several similar cases in the Middle East.
Western diplomats noted that Russia exerted heavy pressure on Guterres and his advisers not to order an investigation.
The Russians have even threatened that if an investigation is opened, they will stop all their cooperation with the UN regarding the war in Ukraine, and especially in regards to the "wheat export corridor" deal - which is the main humanitarian initiative that the UN Secretary General has tried to promote in recent months.
The President of Iran and Putin at their meeting in Tehran in July of this year (photo: screenshot, no)
Against the background of Russian pressure, the UN Secretary General did not order an investigation.
As a result, the report he authored on the implementation of the nuclear agreement does not include any clear conclusion on the transfer of the UAVs from Iran to Russia.
"The UN Secretariat is examining the information in its possession.
Every conclusion will be reported to the Security Council, in the accepted manner and at the appropriate time," Guterres writes in the report.
A Western diplomat said to Walla!
Because the UN Secretary General must order an investigation now "and not give in to pressure from Russia."
A senior UN official told Walla! that Guterres was in a very difficult situation. "Every week the Secretary-General received letters from each side with completely contradictory information. There was a lot of pressure from both sides and the Secretary-General had to proceed very carefully," said the senior UN official .
According to the UN official, the United States has asked Guterres several times in recent weeks to convey warning messages to Iran regarding the consequences of supplying additional drones and ballistic missiles to Russia. In December with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian.
What they say:
The spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, told Walla!: "The UN Secretariat continues to carry out the tasks assigned to it by the Security Council... In this context, the Secretariat is ready to analyze any information that is brought to its attention by countries that are members of the Security Council and that concerns the subject deals with the report".
Western diplomats who are directly involved in talks on the issue at the UN said that the fact that the UN Secretary General's report does not include a clear conclusion regarding the transfer of the UAVs from Iran to Russia does not mean that the UN will not later determine that this is a violation of Security Council Resolution 2231.
A spokesman for the US State Department told Walla!
Because Iran provided UAVs to Russia in violation of Security Council Resolution 2231 and as a result brought disaster and destruction to Ukrainian citizens. "Russia purchased the Iranian UAVs in violation of Security Council Resolution 2231," said the spokesperson from the US State Department.
"There is no doubt that the transfer of the UAVs did not receive the approval of the Security Council, therefore this is a violation of Resolution 2231."
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Moscow did not respond to requests for comment.
A senior UN official said that Secretary-General Guterres still faces the possibility of sending a team of experts to Ukraine in the future to conduct an investigation into the allegations of Russia's use of Iranian drones in the war.
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