US exposes Iranian hand in missile attack against Kingdom
Iran has repeatedly tried to deflect international criticism over its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, including Yemen.
Iran’s military presence in Yemen is well known to Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition it leads. In fact, the Kingdom recently revealed that Iran was the source of the missiles used by the Houthis to hit targets in Saudi Arabia, including the one that was shot down near the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.
The US announcement on Thursday reaffirmed that Iran had suppled ballistic missiles to the Houthi militias. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the missile launched by the Houthis last month was Iranian made. The missile debris clearly showed that it was manufactured in Iran and later delivered to the Houthis in Yemen.
The US ambassador added, “The missile was launched at a civilian airport and it could have resulted in claiming hundreds of lives of innocent Saudi civilians.”
Haley’s comments came amid attempts by Iran-supported militias to hit US allies in the region with missiles. She emphasized that these incidents are terrifying and must stop. She believed that these attacks are not only related to the issue of the nuclear agreement, but also to other Iran-created problems. "Iran believes they have been given a pass," she said.
She made it clear that Iran violated UN Resolution 2231 that includes the nuclear agreement and prevents Iran from selling any ballistic missiles for five years to any country.
The Pentagon had also confirmed recently that the missile debris had Iranian markings and were of specific Iranian design. It had also studied debris from two other similar ballistic missiles, one launched on February 4 and the second on July 22. The markings on the parts used to steer rocket engines and circuit boards in its guidance system were identical to those of Iranian defense companies.
The Pentagon also said that Iran was careful to disguise the cargo by dismantling the missile to easily transport it to Yemen, noting that it had come to this conclusion from the primitive approach of assembling the missile.
Pentagon spokesperson Laura Seal said, “Only Iran makes this missile. They have not given it to anybody else. We haven't seen this in the hands of anyone else except Iran and the Houthis."
The Pentagon also referred to other weapons believed to be manufactured by Iranian defense companies. They include a key component of the Tofan anti-tank missile and small drones. It also displayed components of a navigation system similar to the one used by the Houthis to target a Saudi frigate on January 30. The Pentagon said that the UAE had confiscated the navigation system in the Red Sea late 2016.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the US stance, particularly since it confirmed Iran’s hostile interventions and its support for the Houthi and Hezbollah terrorist militias with dangerous weapons that threaten the security and stability of Saudi Arabia and the entire region.
The Kingdom renewed its condemnation of Iran’s support for the Houthi terrorists who had turned against the legitimate Yemeni government and had destroyed institutions of the state. These militias also controlled and influenced the destiny of the Yemeni people, looting their wealth and oil revenues to fund their terrorist operations to destabilize the whole region. Targeting populated cities of the Saudi Arabia represents a flagrant violation of Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231, prolonging the crisis in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia also condemned the Iranian regime’s violation of Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701 which have imposed a ban on arming any rebel group or non-state armed militias in Lebanon.
The Kingdom called on the international community to immediately implement the Security Council resolutions, and hold the Iranian regime to account for its aggressive and hostile actions. It reaffirmed the need to tighten the verification and inspection mechanism to prevent the smuggling of weapons to terrorist militias.