UN Does Not Confirm Iran's Link to Yemen Missiles, Report
2017-12-13 - 8:01 p
Bahrain Mirror (AFP): UN officials who examined debris from missiles fired at Saudi Arabia from Yemen have not confirmed that they were Iranian-made but are still analyzing the information, according to a confidential report obtained by AFP on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Yemen's Houthi forces who fired a missile intercepted near Riyadh airport on November 4. Weapons supplies to the Houthis would be in violation of a UN arms embargo on Yemen and of a ban on weapons sales by Iran.
A Saudi-led coalition, which backs the ousted Yemeni government, has fought the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen's more than two-year-long civil war.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that the missiles fired on July 22 and November 4 both had a diameter that was "consistent" with a Scud missile. Iran's Qiam-1 is a variant of the Scud missile. Guterres said, "The missiles had similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin," according to the report sent to the council on Friday.
No Firm Conclusion
The UN chief cautioned that officials were still "carefully reviewing all the information and material available", but offered no firm conclusions.
Guterres' report alleged that a separate team of UN experts who inspected the missile fragments during a visit to Riyadh last month found a possible link to an Iranian manufacturer, the Shahid Baqeri Industrial Group which is on the UN sanctions blacklist.
The experts who report to the sanctions committee claimed they found a component marked by a logo similar to that of the banned group, which is a subsidiary of the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization. In his report, Guterres said officials had seen the logo but again said they were still analyzing the information.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley has called for international action against Iran over the missile attacks from Yemen against Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh has described as a "direct aggression".
Iran has repeatedly denied that it is arming the Houthis. The Saudi-led coalition used the missile attack to impose a blockade of Yemen's air and sea ports and borders, citing concerns that weapons were being smuggled into Yemen. During a fact-finding mission to Saudi Arabia, UN officials also examined two drones recovered in Yemen but did not confirm a Saudi claim that one of them was Iranian-made.
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