U.N. Ambassador Haley: Missile launched at Riyadh may be Iranian

By Sara Shayanian  |  Nov. 7, 2017 at 12:21 PM
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Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The ballistic missile that Yemen's Houthi rebels fired into Saudi Arabia this July was Iranian-made, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley's office said.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations news release said the missile the Houthi rebels launched toward Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport on Nov. 4 may "also be of Iranian origin."

"Saudi Arabia's announcement confirms once again the Iranian regime's complete disregard for its international obligations. By providing these types of weapons to the Houthi militias in Yemen, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp‎s is violating two UN resolutions simultaneously," Haley said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Tuesday it investigated the intercepted ballistic missile and their experts believe the weapon was an Iranian Qiam -- a weapon not present in Yemen before the conflict.

"A thorough examination of the debris of these missiles ... has confirmed the role of Iran's regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests," a statement by the Saudi-coalition said.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday said he considers Iran's alleged supplying of weapons to Houthis in Yemen an act of "direct aggression."

"The involvement of the Iranian regime in supplying its Houthi militias with missiles is considered a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war against the Kingdom," the prince said.

Saudi officials also accused the Lebanese government of declaring war against it due to Hezbollah -- an ally of Iran -- "sowing strife" in the region.

Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan said Monday that Beirut would "be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia," adding that Hezbollah was involved in "every terrorist act" that threatened the Saudi kingdom.

Haley affirmed that the United States would "not turn a blind eye" to the violations of international law by Iran.

"We encourage the release of any information that will help to hold Iran accountable for its support of violence and terrorism in the region and the world. The United States is committed to containing Iran's destabilizing actions and will not turn a blind eye to these serious violations of international law by the Iranian regime," Haley said.

A Houthi spokesman said Monday the missile strike this month was a response to Saudi violence against Yemenis.

Iran has denied supplying the Houthi with missiles and other weapons and said the launch aimed at Riyadh was an "independent" reaction by Yemen.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the country has a right to respond if attacked by Iran.

The ongoing proxy war in Yemen has killed at least 10,000 and injured 40,000, due to mostly Saudi-led airstrikes.

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