Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, claimed Thursday that the international body has obtained “undeniable” evidence that Iran supplied Yemeni insurgents with missiles and other arms.
But U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres reached no such conclusion in his report this month that addresses U.S. and Saudi claims the Houthi insurgents fired Iranian short-range ballistic missiles that nearly missed Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport on Nov. 4.
A U.N. panel of experts has reviewed missile fragments from the strike that show the missile resembles the Qiam-1, an Iranian-made Scud variant that lacks the tail fins typically found in Yemen’s previously known missile arsenal. The panel noted in a confidential report, which was obtained by Foreign Policy, that the missile also contained a tail component that bore the logo of an Iranian company targeted by U.S. and U.N. sanctions.
But the panel, which reported that the missile also contained an American-made component, concluded it “has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier.”
While the presence of Iranian missile parts has strengthened the circumstantial case for the regime’s role in the Yemen conflict, some of Haley’s counterparts on the U.N. Security Council aren’t yet willing to point the finger at Tehran.
Sweden’s U.N. ambassador, Olof Skoog, who serves as a non-permanent Security Council member and has access to the confidential U.N. panel report, said Haley “may be in possession of evidence I have not seen. The information I have up to now is less clear” that Iran is the culprit.
Standing on a stage at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, home to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Haley said the U.N. “makes a convincing case that Iran is illegally providing the Houthi militants in Yemen with dangerous weapons.”
Haley spoke in front of a display filled with previously classified debris linked to Tehran’s missile program, which included a spent missile tube, charts, broken missile fragments, and a component made by an Iranian firm, Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group. She said some of the evidence presented was on loan from the Saudi and Emirati governments, and added she was inviting all members of the U.N. Security Council and Congress to come inspect the equipment.
Pieces of an ballistic missile on display next to Haley, intending to prove Iran violated U.N. resolutions by providing weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty…