According to Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Russia’s veto of a United Nations draft resolution linking Iranian arms to Houthi militias in Yemen is a sign of improving ties between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with Syrian Minister of Religious Affairs Mohammed Abdul Sattar Feb. 28, Velayati said of the UK-proposed draft resolution, “The policies of the British have a despised history among Iranians and in no way was this action contrary to our expectations.” He added, “What Russia did in vetoing this resolution is an indication of growing strategic relations between Iran and Russia.”
Of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, 11 voted for the resolution, which was supported heavily by the United States. Russia is one of the five permanent members with veto power. China, another, abstained. A Russian draft embargoing arms to Yemen and making no reference to Iran was approved.
Conservative media outlet Javan Online's criticism of the UK proposal read, “Despite warnings and international and humanitarian reports about the killings of Yemeni civilians from Saudi Arabian strikes through UK arms and weapons, London has closed its eyes to a humanitarian disaster and a violation of human rights and is pursuing its own economic interests.” Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has purchased over $5 billion worth of weapons from the United Kingdom.
Javan argued that despite international and European pressure to stop arms sales to the Saudis, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s two trips to Saudi Arabia in the last year shows that London is still seeking to continue them. Since the Houthis successfully launched missiles into Saudi Arabia, read the article, the United States and its allies have sought to ramp up pressure on Iran.
Iranian Foreign Ministry officials also criticized the draft resolution. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi called it “one sided” and another attempt to drag Iran to the UN Security Council. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said that the United States and United Kingdom's actions at the UN have been a counterproductive attempt to “legitimize those attacking Yemen.” Hamid Baeidinejad, a former nuclear negotiator and currently Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, said that promoting the resolution was a complete failure for the United States and its ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shared the view that the resolution was intended to legitimize the Saudi-led and US-backed war on Yemen. Javan quoted Zarif as saying, “We witnessed an ugly show in support of the aggressors by the United Nations,” adding that when the Saudi-led bombing began in 2015, Saudi Arabia claimed that the war would last a few weeks and it would easily defeat the Houthis, but now the Saudis are “stuck.” Zarif reiterated that the Islamic Republic’s position on Yemen is that the only path to end the crisis is through political means.