Failed UN resolution a setback for UK attempts to demonize Iran: Russian analyst

Tasnim – A political analyst based in Moscow said the vetoing of the British-drafted resolution against Iran and Yemen at the United Nations Security Council confirmed the failure of attempts to demonize the Islamic Republic.

“I think the vetoing of the resolution confirms the UK’s failure to demonize Iran,” Dmitry Babich said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

Dmitry Babich, born in Moscow, has been an active journalist for over 25 years, focusing on Russian politics. Graduating from Moscow State University, Babich has had a successful career in Russian journalism. He has previously been a senior correspondent at the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, RIA Novosti, and Russia Profile magazine. Between 1999 and 2003, Babich was a foreign editor at The Moscow News before returning to Russia Profile in 2009 as acting editor-in-chief. His core areas of focus include Russia’s modern political history, international relations. Babich is currently working as a political analyst at Sputnik International and is a frequent guest on BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN commenting on international affairs and history.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: As you know, Russia blocked a British-drafted resolution against Iran and Yemen at the United Nations Security Council on Monday. The resolution, which was strongly backed by the US, sought a “condemnation” of Iran for allegations of violating an arms embargo on war-torn Yemen. Iran has repeatedly dismissed as “baseless” claims about arms supply to Yemen. In a Wednesday meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Iran’s permanent representative to the world body, Gholam Ali Khoshroo, warned the UNSC that its support for any unilateral measure can aggravate the situation in Yemen. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia recently said that he opposed the draft, saying it should be about renewing the work of experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen, not condemning Iran. What is your take on Russia’s move to veto the UK-drafted resolution? Do not you think that it was another defeat for the US-led Western alliance in the face of Iran?

Babich: I think the vetoing of the resolution confirms the UK’s failure to demonize Iran. The reasons for the Russian move to veto the resolution are not geopolitical, since Russia, unlike certain other countries, does not pretend to know what would be the best solution for the power crisis in Yemen. This crisis has already led to a prolonged civil war and to a foreign intervention from the side of Saudi Arabia and the so-called Saudi-led coalition, officially supported by the United States and its allies.

There are two reasons why Russia blocked the British variant. First, the British variant was squarely anti-Iranian; it put most of the blame for the Yemeni tragedy on the so-called Iranian involvement, even though Iran is an important partner for Russia in fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Second, the conduct of the Western governments disqualifies them from criticizing Russia, Iran or even the Syrian government. Why? Because even the hypocritical pro-Western human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, cannot deny the fact that most of the casualties among the civilian population were caused by the actions of the Saudi-led coalition. This is reflected even in the most recent Amnesty International’s Report on the Human Right in 2017-2018. Here is a quote from the report, released just days ago: “The UN reported that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition supporting President Hadi’s government continued to be the leading cause of civilian casualties in the conflict. The coalition continued to commit serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law with impunity. Coalition aircraft carried out bomb attacks on areas controlled or contested by Houthi forces and their allies, particularly in the Sana’a, Ta’iz, Hajjah, Hodeidah and Sa’da governorates, killing and injuring thousands of civilians. Many coalition attacks were directed at military targets, but others were indiscriminate, disproportionate or directed against civilians and civilian objects, including funeral gatherings, schools, markets, residential areas and civilian boats.”

And after this the UK and the United States want to teach Iran manners, accusing it of breaching the embargo on arms supplies to Yemen? The United States during president Trump’s visit has just signed contracts for the delivery of American arms to Saudi Arabia. The contracts were officially announced to involve HUNDREDS of billions of Saudi dollars going to the US war industry in exchange for weapons and munitions. Only the God knows how many of these munitions will be spent by Saudi forces on the ongoing destruction of Yemeni infrastructure.

Tasnim: The UN children’s agency has recently said the ongoing Saudi aggression against Yemen has killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives. UNICEF said nearly 2 million Yemeni children were out of school, a quarter of them since the start of the war. In the meantime, the Saudi-led war on Yemen has led to a cholera epidemic in Yemen, which is one of the worst ever recorded in the world. The epidemic is likely to surge again around March, according to media reports. What do you think about the Saudi crimes in the Arabian Peninsula country? Why does the UNSC not impose sanctions against Riyadh?

Babich: The humanitarian tragedy in Yemen is terrible. It is clear that most of the damage was done by the Saudi-led forces, which unfortunately managed to hammer a so-called Sunni coalition around themselves. The responsibility of the Saudi government and its allies for the dozens of thousands of dead in Yemen is undeniable. Sooner or later, the perpetrators of this crime will be condemned by their own people. Unfortunately, Saudis have a powerful lobby in Washington D.C. So, a peaceful action from the side of the US is not to be expected. And don’t forget that the US has a veto power in the UNSC. So, any resolution of the Security Council, even a symbolic one, is not to be expected.

Tasnim: Some Western countries that claim to be champions of human rights are pursuing double-standard policies on Saudi Arabia’s atrocities. How do you see the role of Washington and London in the Riyadh regime’s heinous crimes against Yemen?

Babich: Washington and London did to Yemen what they could do to Syria if they had their way and Assad had bowed to their pressure. The rebels and destabilizing elements would not have had their way either in Syria nor in Yemen if they had not felt the support of Washington and European capitals behind themselves. Of course, most of the English and the Americans do not realize what crime they were involved in. The United States continues to dictate their will to sovereign countries as if it had the moral right to do so.