The United States has concrete evidence that Iran was supplying weaponry to the Huthi rebels in Yemen, in violation of United Nations sanctions, the U.S. ambassador to the world body has charged.
At a December 14 news conference held at a Washington-area military warehouse where U.S. defense officials put weapons fragments on display, Nikki Haley also said “the evidence was undeniable.”
“The United States is taking a new approach to Iran by focusing on all of the regime’s destabilizing behavior. That means we are not just focused on a nuclear program. We are also taking a hard look at Iran’s ballistic-missile program, its arms exports, and its support for terrorists, proxy fighters, and dictators,” she told reporters.
The weaponry on display included remains of what the U.S. officials said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile that was fired from Yemen last month at the international airport outside Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. Other equipment on display included a drone and an antitank weapon that officials said was recovered in Yemen by Saudi forces.
“They might as well have had ‘Made in Iran’ stickers on them,” she said.
The United Nations resolution passed in connection with the landmark nuclear deal prohibited Tehran from supplying, selling, or transferring weapons unless the Security Council approved it. A separate UN resolution bans the supply of any weapons to the Huthi rebel leader in Yemen.
Tehran, which views Saudi Arabia as an enemy and rival for power in the Middle East, has long denied accusations that it was supplying weapons, and called Haley’s claim about the November 4 missile attack “irresponsible, provocative, and destructive.”
“These accusations seek also to cover up for the Saudi war crimes in Yemen, with the U.S. complicity, and divert international and regional attention from the stalemate war of aggression against the Yemenis,” a statement released by Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.
Saudi-led forces back the Yemeni government, and have been fighting the Huthis in Yemen’s ongoing civil war for more than two years. Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East and Washington is a major supplier of weaponry to the Saudi military.
The announcement came amid reports that a UN investigation into whether Iran supplied the two missiles Yemeni rebels fired at Saudi Arabia this year reached no firm conclusions.
The Associated Press and Agence France-Press have reported that UN officials examined debris from the missiles and said it pointed to a “common origin,” but they could not conclude that they came from an Iranian supplier.
Related NIAC statement added by The Iranian…
NIAC Statement on Nikki Haley’s Missile Speech
Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council Research Director Reza Marashi issued the following statement regarding Ambassador Nikki Haley’s presentation at the Defense Intelligence Agency accusing Iran of supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen:
“Ambassador Haley’s dearth of foreign policy experience is no excuse for her shambolic performance today. Rather than displaying the dignity and poise of America’s face at the United Nations, she had her Colin Powell 2003 moment, demonstrating that too many of our leaders have still not learned the lessons of the Iraq war disaster. This stunt is particularly galling as it comes on the same day that reports emerged that the U.S. secretly sent advanced weaponry into Syria that ended up in the hands of ISIS and are now a direct threat to American troops and allies.
“Contrary to Amb. Haley’s claims, the UN Secretary General’s report did not assert anything irrefutable or definitive about any Iranian violations. Instead, the report indicates that the United Nations is ‘still analyzing the information provided’ in reports from various nations. As is the case with so many claims from the Trump administration, it appears that the facts are being chosen to fit a predetermined narrative or policy goal.
“It is indisputable that more arms in the region will do nothing to advance peace. Iran should halt any weapons shipments that it is sending to the Houthis or other armed groups in the region. However, Iran alone cannot be expected to halt its fueling of its proxy war with Saudi Arabia, and is unlikely to do so through unilateral demands alone. Accordingly, the Trump administration should also end its direct support for the Saudi-led humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and end its missile sales in the region that are arming some of the world’s worst despots. If Ambassador Haley and the Trump administration are truly concerned about Iran’s regional activities and missile program, they should pursue direct dialogue with Iran rather than repeat the same mistakes of the past.
“The U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen has not just produced mass human suffering in America’s name, it has empowered Iran in a country where it previously had very little influence. The Saudi-led debacle has also empowered al-Qaeda – the same al-Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11 with 15 Saudi nationals, and continues to plot attacks on the homeland today. Moreover, U.S. missile sales in a volatile region to the increasingly aggressive Saudi Arabia and the UAE have provided the Iranian government with a pretext to further develop its own missile program and cite U.S. military sales as justification.
“The Trump administration should immediately pursue bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the Iranian government on all issues of contention with no preconditions. The track record is clear. Talking about Iran with other countries only led to more missiles and more centrifuges in Iran during the Bush administration. Talking with Iran and other countries simultaneously produced compromises on missiles and less centrifuges under the Obama administration. Haley and her Republican colleagues in government would be wise to heed the words of Albert Einstein: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
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