Houthis in Yemen
Houthis in Yemen Reuters

The UN Security Council on Monday imposed an arms embargo on Yemen's Houthi rebels, Reuters reported.

The council agreed to expand a targeted UN arms embargo on several Houthi leaders to the whole group.

The move received 11 votes in favor, while the remaining four council members -- Ireland, Mexico, Brazil and Norway -- abstained. Russia voted in favor after abstaining on the council vote a year ago to renew UN sanctions on Yemen.

The Houthi rebels, which are backed by Iran, have regularly fired missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia since 2015, when a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen to try to restore the government.

In recent months, the Houthis have launched several attacks on targets in the United Arab Emirates, including a missile attack during the visit of President Isaac Herzog.

Following those attacks, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked US Secretary of State Tony Blinken to re-designate the Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization.

Blinken last year announced the removal of the Houthi rebels from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, reversing a decision that was made by the Trump administration days before the end of his term.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.

Some frustrated UN diplomats on Monday accused the UAE of winning Russia's support for the vote by abstaining on Security Council votes on Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on Friday and Sunday.

A spokesperson for the UAE mission to the United Nations said the UAE "does not engage in vote trading at the UN Security Council."

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia scoffed on Sunday when asked if Russia had given its support for blacklisting the Houthis in exchange for the UAE's abstention.

"We do not anything in exchange like some of our colleagues in Security Council, who besides exchange -- without any shame -- twist arms of our Security Council members and the members of General Assembly to do or to vote the way they want, including methods which are not diplomatic," he replied.