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Friday / December 15.

Houthi missiles fired at Saudi Arabia appear to be Iranian, says UN


JEDDAH: Remnants of four ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi militias this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Iran, a confidential report by UN sanctions monitors said, bolstering a push by the US to punish the Tehran government.

The independent panel of UN monitors, in a Nov. 24 report to the Security Council seen by Reuters, said: “Design characteristics and dimensions of the components inspected by the panel are consistent with those reported for the Iranian designed and manufactured Qiam-1 missile.”

Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Iran of supplying Houthi militia with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the UN to hold Tehran accountable for violating two UN Security Council resolutions.

The report said that monitors had visited two Saudi military bases to see remnants gathered by authorities from missile attacks on Saudi Arabia on May 19, July 22, July 26 and Nov. 4.

They also visited four “impact points” from the Nov. 4 attack where other remnants of the missiles were identified.

The UN monitors said they gathered evidence that the missiles were transferred to Yemen in pieces and assembled there by missile engineers with the Houthis and allied forces loyal to Yemen’s deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

They said the missiles most likely were smuggled into Yemen along “the land routes from Oman or Ghaydah and Nishtun in Al-Mahrah governorate (in Yemen) after ship-to-shore transshipment to small dhows, a route that has already seen limited seizures of anti-tank guided weapons.”

The monitors also said that while “concealment in cargo of vessels offloading in the Red Sea ports is unlikely, it cannot be excluded as an option.”

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh described the findings of the UN monitors as “a significant development.”

“They (the findings) corroborate and substantiate what Saudi Arabia and US officials have previously stated that the Houthi missiles targeting Saudi Arabia were made by the Iranian regime. Iran’s action was an act of war which could have killed and wounded hundreds, if not thousands of people,” Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“This UN report gives global legitimacy to Saudi Arabia … it shows that Saudi Arabia makes statements based on evidence and objective investigation,” he said. “It is the Iranian regime which harbors deep antagonism toward Saudi Arabia for religious, political and ethnic reasons. It is the Iranian regime which continues to incite violence, support terrorism and destabilize the region to advance its hegemonic ambitions.”

Rafizadeh said the UN announcement should be used as a powerful tool to mobilize the international community to hold the Iranian regime accountable.

“Words should turn into actions; otherwise Iran will continue to support terrorism, destabilizing the region, and posing threat to lives of many of people in the region. Those Iranian leaders who are responsible for supporting the Houthis and the missiles targeting Saudi Arabia should be brought to justice,” he added.

Meanwhile, another ballistic missile fired from Yemen was intercepted and destroyed on Thursday, Saudi media reported. No casualties were reported.

“The missile heading toward the city of Khamis Mushayt was intercepted and destroyed without any casualties,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki as saying.

Pakistan condemned the strike in a statement. It commended “the timely action by Saudi forces to destroy the missile preventing any loss of life.”



via AN