U.S. Presents its Evidence Of Iran Weaponry From Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
A missile that the Department of Defense says is confirmed as a “Qiam” ballistic missile manufactured in Iran by its distinctively Iranian nine fueling ports and that the Pentagon says was fired by Houthi rebels from Yemen into Saudi Arabia on July 22, on display at a military base in Washington. (Reuters/Jim Bourg)

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 U.N. resolutions.

The arms included charred remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Nov. 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 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.

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 a new diplomatic initiative.

“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 Nov. 4 missile.