Nikki Haley arrives to unveil previously classified information intending to prove Iran provided Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. \jim Watson
The United States on Thursday presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating UN resolutions.
The arms included charred remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen on November 4 at King Khaled International Airport outside Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, as well as a drone and an anti-tank weapon recovered in Yemen by the Saudis.
Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with such weaponry and on Thursday described the arms displayed as « fabricated. »
The United States acknowledged it could not say precisely when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis, and, in some cases could not say when they were used. There was no immediate way to independently verify where the weapons were made or employed.
But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley expressed confidence that the transfers could be blamed on Tehran.
« These are Iranian made, these are Iranian sent, and these were Iranian given, » Haley told a news conference at a military hangar at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, just outside Washington.
Following Haley’s remarks, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said « the Iranian missile threat extends from the Persian Gulf through Yemen and Syria to Lebanon and Gaza. » He added that « today’s announcement only proves that the danger Iran poses is growing, despite their attempts to hide. The UN must work immediately to end these dangerous threats. »
All of the recovered weapons were provided to the United States by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said. Saudi-led forces, which back the Yemeni government, have been fighting the Houthis in Yemen’s more than two-year-long civil war.
The unprecedented presentation – which Haley said involved intelligence that had to be declassified – is part of President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy, which promises a harder line toward Tehran. That would appear to include new diplomatic push.
« You will see us build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they’re doing, » Haley said, standing in front of what she said were the remnants of the November 4 missile.
Under a UN resolution that enshrines the Iran nuclear deal with world powers, Tehran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved by the UN Security Council. A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and others.
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