U.S. assessing if Russian use of Iran
base violates U.N. resolution
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[August 18, 2016]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United
States is looking at whether Russia has violated a U.N. Security Council
resolution on military dealings with Tehran by using an Iranian air base
to carry out strikes inside Syria, the State Department said on
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. government attorneys had
not yet decided whether they think Russia's use of the Iranian base is a
violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which was passed as
part of the Iran nuclear deal.
The resolution governs some military interactions between Iran and other
countries, including the supply, sale or transfer of military
technologies or the provision of training or financial assistance
related to the acquisition of new technologies.
"As I understand it, it's not just supplying the Iranians certain
weapons or certain offensive weaponry. It's more complex than that,"
Toner told a news briefing. "Our lawyers are looking at it. We haven't
made an assessment," he added.
Moscow first used Iran as a base from which to launch air strikes in
Syria on Tuesday, deepening its involvement in the five-year-old Syrian
civil war and angering the United States. Russian officials on Wednesday
rejected U.S. criticisms of its use of the base.
Toner said that beyond the question of Russia's use of a base in Iran,
its air strikes often "indiscriminately" hit civilian targets and
moderate Syrian opposition groups.
"It's not helpful because ... it continues to complicate what is already
a very dangerous situation," Toner said.
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A still image, taken from video footage and released by Russia's
Defence Ministry on August 16, 2016, shows a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3
long-range bomber based in Iran dropping off bombs at an unknown
location in Syria. Ministry of Defence of the Russian
Federation/Handout via Reuters
"And so our concerns remain very vivid," he added. "We're trying to
remain focused on ... trying to get a cessation of hostilities back
in place in Syria. And this doesn't help it."
Toner said the United States was still open to coordinating with
Russia in the fight against Islamic State, but "we have certain
issues that we want resolved" before entering into such a deal.
"We need full humanitarian access immediately ... and we don't have
it," he said.
(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Walsh and Jonathan
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