As Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist, leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, and president of the International American Council writes in his article for Arab News, “When it comes to smuggling and supplying the Houthis with weapons, Tehran is engaged in four major categories:

– First is the supply, sale or transfer of short-range ballistic missiles (known as Borkan-2H ).
– Second is the supply of field storage tanks, which are utilized for liquid bipropellant oxidizers and developing ballistic missiles.
– Third is supplying unmanned aerial vehicles (such as Ababil-T and Qasef-1). Fourth is the provision of ballistic missile technology to the militias.

It is worth noting that these acts are in violation of UN resolutions 2216, that imposes an arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and 2231, that bans the Islamic Republic from transferring weapons and advancing its ballistic missile program in specific instances. In fact, the annual report of the United Nations revealed that “the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015).” It added, “The panel has now identified strong indicators of the supply of arms-related material manufactured in, or emanating from, the Islamic Republic of Iran subsequent to the establishment of the targeted arms embargo on April 14, 2015, particularly in the area of short-range ballistic missile technology and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Still, the UN has not taken measures to punish the Iranian regime. Dr. Rafizadeh writes that, “One of the reasons for this is the veto power that Russia holds in the Security Council. Russia recently vetoed a resolution that would have simply applied
pressure to Iran over the transfer of weapons to Yemen. Therefore it is unlikely the UN will be capable of action as long as Russia supports the Iranian regime.”

If the UN fails to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its violations, Dr. Rafizadeh says that the solution must be dependent on the power of regional organizations and coalitions. He says that, in some cases, a united regional front can be more effective than the international organizations to halt destabilization in the region.

“A regional consensus could be more successful in establishing peace and halting destabilization than the UN, which has its hands tied by the Russian veto,” writes Dr. Majid Rafizadeh.

He points out that a coalition of Arab states, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, could play a major role, and outlines gradual steps that the Arab states can take:

– First is to impose targeted sanctions aimed at holding the Iranian regime accountable based on the UN’s finding regarding Tehran’s smuggling of weapons. Sanctions can be imposed on specific entities that the UN has found to be involved in supplying and transferring weapons to Tehran’s proxies.
– Secondly, the Arab states can impose sanctions on those entities and individuals that the United States has sanctioned for violations of UN resolutions and international law, many of whom are affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
– Third, a coalition of Arab states can utilize their economic power with regional economic sanctions that will impact the regime’s revenues.

Arab states would then be simply following international law, and using the legal framework to impose penalties on the Iranian regime. Dr. Rafizadeh believes that but for Russia’s veto power, these are the penalties that the UN would impose.

However, while awaiting action from international institutions or global powers, Tehran is increasing its influence, power and further destabilization of the region.