The United States (US) threatened unilateral action against Iran on Monday after Russia vetoed a western bid for the United Nations Security Council to call out Tehran for failing to prevent its weapons from falling into the hands of Yemen's Houthi group, reports Reuters.
"If Russia is going to continue to cover for Iran then the US and our partners need to take action on our own. If we're not going to get action on the council then we have to take our own actions," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters during a visit to Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.
Haley did not specify what kind of action could be taken.
The Russian veto was a defeat for the United States, which has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran's nuclear programme if "disastrous flaws" are not fixed.
President Donald Trump warned European allies last month that they had to commit by mid-May to work with Washington to improve the pact. Britain drafted the failed UN resolution in consultation with the United States and France.
In a bid to win Moscow's support, the draft that was vetoed had been weakened to simply "note with particular concern" the violation, which was reported to the council by UN experts monitoring sanctions. It received 11 votes in favour, two against - Russia and Bolivia - while China and Kazakhstan abstained.
A TASS report adds: Russia vetoed a British-drafted resolution on extension of sanctions against Yemen, which also condemns Iran for illegal supplies of weapons to the Houthi rebels, and instead brought up its own document to the UN Security Council vote on Monday.
The former gained 11 favorable votes, while Russia and Bolivia voted down the draft resolution, and two countries - Kazakhstan and China - abstained. The latter document was adopted unanimously.
Both texts envisioned extension of the weapons embargo and other sanctions, including assets freeze and banned trips for persons implicated in Yemen's destabilization, throughout February 26, 2019 and prolongation of the power of a group of experts monitoring their enforcement - until March 28, 2019.
Meanwhile, the British text contained condemnations against Tehran, which western countries suspect of illegal supplies of weapons to Yemeni rebels. It also stated an intention to assume further measures in response to those violations.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzya said that Moscow cannot agree with "unconfirmed conclusions and reports that should be double-checked and discussed by the sanctions committee." He added that as the text of the future resolution was negotiated the Russian side offered "more than one compromising formulation," but Russia's ideas were dismissed.