Russia and China have challenged Western assertions that Iran breached U.N. Security Council sanctions by test-firing certain missiles last July, Reuters reported on Monday.
The disagreement will likely prevent any new penalties against Iran in response to the tests in the near term, anonymous U.N. envoys told the news agency.
The Shahab 1 and Shahab 3 ballistic missile launches were a "clear violation" of punitive measures already in force, Australian Ambassador to the United Nations Gary Quinlan said in remarks quoted by the Associated Press. Quinlan currently heads the panel overseeing the implementation of penalties adopted by the 15-nation U.N. body.
A Russian diplomat cautioned the body against making "hasty conclusions not based on facts," Reuters reported.
France, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates in recent months told the sanctions panel they had intercepted banned shipments of weapon-usable materials in route to Iran, AP reported.
Meanwhile, the European Union's justice system could pose a lasting challenge to steps by the 27-nation bloc to isolate Iran over its disputed atomic activities, Reuters reported. The United Nations and a number of European nations have voiced serious doubts about Tehran's insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful in nature.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday said she hopes to quickly restart multilateral dialogue on the standoff, al-Monitor reported.
“We wait now for the team to be appointed by Iran,” said Ashton, the chief interlocutor in Iran's atomic discussions with the five permanent Security Council member nations and Germany. The sides last met three months ago in Almaty, Kazakhstan.