France cautious over USA 'evidence' on Iran weaponry in Yemen

Posted December 17, 2017

"Info I have is less clear", Olof Skoog, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, said when asked about Haley's assertions.

The Trump administration accused Iran on Thursday of violating United Nations resolutions, unveiling what US officials said was proof that Iran is exporting missiles and other military hardware to a rebel group in Yemen.

The missile was reportedly launched at Saudi Arabia last month from an area of Yemen that is controlled by Houthi rebels, an Iranian-backed Shiite group that took control of large swathes of Yemen in 2014.

A separate team of United Nations experts who inspected the missile fragments during a visit to Riyadh last month found a possible link to an Iranian manufacturer, the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group, which is on the United Nations sanctions blacklist. "We present this evidence so that we, our allies and global partners - including organizations like the [United Nations] - can be clear eyed about Iran's activities as we work together", Seal said.

Also on Thursday Iran dismissed evidence presented by Haley as "fabricated", saying the accusations were baseless. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump claimed that a 2015 financial deal meant to limit Iran's nuclear program has helped the nation fund terrorism.

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In an earlier tweet late Thursday, Zarif rejected US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley's remarks over the Islamic Republic's missile support for Yemen, comparing them to US claims in 2003 that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

This in itself does not necessarily contravene the deal, however, as the agreement does not explicitly forbid ballistic missile production or distributing arms.

This, she said violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231, a 2015 measure that prohibits Iran from providing weapons outside Iran without Security Council approval.

The attack prompted an intensification of Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis and sparked condemnation from the USA, which has sought to isolate Iran diplomatically under President Donald Trump.

"Today's revelations proved yet again that Iran's risky presence in the Middle East is only growing despite their attempts to deceive the world", Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in a statement.

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He said Israel had protested that Iran's test of a Qiam ballistic missile in November 2016 "used a Star of David as the intended target" and cited other ballistic missiles it reportedly launched at targets in Syria in June.

Iran's "ballistic missile and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region". The exact nature and extent of the assistance are unclear, but what is publicly acknowledged includes US provision of targeting information and refueling of Saudi warplanes.

Iran, it said, appeared to have tried to cover-up the shipment by disassembling the missile for transport, given crude welding used to stitch it back together. Evidently a factory marking on a munition is supposed to constitute a case for condemnation of the country of manufacture when Iran is involved, but not when another state is, or at least when the United States or Saudi Arabia is. The point of the press conference, she said, was to begin a public campaign that highlights Iran's misdeeds.

The report from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, obtained by AFP, said officials were still analysing the information.

"As you know, we do not often declassify this type of military equipment recovered from these attacks, but today we are taking an extraordinary step of presenting it here in an open setting", she said.

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