Global Affairs

UN Confirms Iran Arms Transfers to Lebanon Would Violate Security Council Sanctions

Yesterday Lebanon’s NOW media outlet reported that Iran has offered to send arms to Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) amid growing violence between the LAF and Sunni jihadi groups in the northern city of Tripoli.

At a religious ceremony Monday in the southern town of Al-Zarariyeh, Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah pointed to the Tripoli clashes – in which 11 soldiers were killed and over 90 wounded – as reason to accept a recent Iranian offer to provide arms to the LAF; an offer which has met with domestic and international opposition.

“The relevant authorities ought to have accepted [the Iranian proposal] quickly, as there is a battle and war being waged against the army, which is in need of arms,” Fadlallah told attendees at a gathering held in commemoration of Ashoura, a holy occasion in Shiite Islam. The MP added that Hezbollah supported the provision of arms to the LAF by “anyone except the Israeli enemy.”

The Iranian arms offer is an apparent effort to counter a Saudi Arabian pledge to provide at least $3 billion of arms to the LAF. But the NOW report noted that an Iranian arms transfer would violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 from 2007.

One key argument made by opponents – both domestic and international – of Tehran’s proposal is that it would contravene international law. Article 5 of UN Security Council Resolution 1747, passed in 2007, “[d]ecides that Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly […] any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran.”

When contacted by NOW, an official of the UN reportedly confirmed that the sanctions would apply in this case, saying, “we have seen the media reports pertaining to bilateral discussions. All Member States are aware of the body of relevant resolutions, including the arms embargo […] All Member States are expected to abide by their obligations under the embargo accordingly.”

Iran was identified by the UN as the source of a weapons shipment to Hamas this past summer in violation of 1747. A reported Iranian arms shipment to Iraq earlier this year was also flagged as a violation the Security Council embargo on Iranian weapons transfers.

[Photo: Skendong / YouTube ]