The US yesterday revealed evidence which it says proves Iran is supplying Yemen’s Houthis with weapons which are used to attack Saudi Arabia.
In a presentation at the headquarters to the Defence Intelligence Agency in Washington, the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said: “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 opening setting.”
The Iranian weapons were retrieved by US partners, namely Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of whom support forces in Yemen which stand in opposition to the Houthis and who have been battling against the group since the start of the war in 2014.
“In October, President [Donald] Trump announced a new strategy to address the totality of Iranian threats and malign activities: nuclear; ballistic missile development and proliferation; counter-maritime operations; cyber; and support to terrorism and unconventional warfare,” said Laura Seal, a Defence Department spokesperson.
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“Part of the president’s strategy is to clearly show how Iran continues to defy the international community by violating United Nations resolutions.”
“We present this evidence so that we, our allies and international partners – including organisations like the [United Nations] – can be clear eyed about Iran’s activities as we work together,” Seal said.
Specifically, the hangar contains “objects that provide evidence of Iranian weapons proliferation in violation of UN Security Council resolutions 2216 and 2231,” Seal said.
During the presentation, Haley unveiled pieces of two Iranian Qiam missiles launched from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, one which targeted the Saudi oil facility Aramco in Yanbu and the other aimed at King Khalid International Airport. “Only Iran makes the Qiam,” Seal said.
An Iranian-made anti-tank guided missile called a Toophan was also on displat. “This one was obtained by Saudi Arabia on the battlefield,” Seal said. This is a high-precision missile with a range of about 2.4 miles. The Houthis in Yemen use them to target infrastructure and vehicles, officials said, noting that the Houthis do not have the technology to manufacture these weapons on their own.
A Houthi spokesperson told MEMO that the group has not received weapons from Iran and if they were able to acquire any, they would request anti-aircraft missiles. They are currently using Russian weapons, he added.
The Yemen civil war intensified after the Houthis took over the capital Sana’a in late 2014 alongside former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces. The Saudi-led coalition was invited to defeat the Houthis and push them back towards the north of Yemen in March 2015. The Houthis have reportedly fired ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia. There have been no other rockets fired since early last month.