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American Evidence on Yemen Missile “Fabricated”

American Evidence on Yemen Missile “Fabricated”American Evidence on Yemen Missile “Fabricated”

Iran's UN envoy dismissed an assertion by his US counterpart that Tehran is responsible for a Houthi missile attack against Saudi Arabia early last month, saying Nikki Haley's Thursday press conference was part of a pattern of making false US accusations to "deceive" global public opinion into thinking Iran is a threat to peace.

Gholamali Khoshroo made the remarks in a Thursday statement released by Iran's mission to the United Nations, responding to Haley's presser in which she claimed "undeniable" proof Iran is violating UN resolutions.

"In this warehouse is concrete evidence of illegal Iranian weapons proliferation gathered from direct military attacks on our partners in the region," AP quoted Haley as claiming in a military base near Washington, where she was presenting evidence purported to show Iranian weapons directly supplied to the Houthi forces in Yemen.

Among them were fragments claimed to have been recovered from a missile launched from Yemen into an international airport near Riyadh on Nov. 4.

Haley claimed the missile, which was shot down before hitting the target, was an Iranian-made Qiam short-range ballistic missile.

Iran has denied any role in the missile attack on the airport and says it is not supplying weapons to the Houthis.

***Attempt to Divert Attention

Describing the US accusation as "irresponsible, destructive and provocative", the Iranian ambassador said the evidence US put forward was not convincing.

"This purported evidence ... is as much fabricated as the one presented on some other occasions earlier," the statement read, alluding to an infamous 2003 speech at the UN by former US secretary of state, Colin Powell.

In his remarks, Powell, who at the time was US ambassador to the UN, alleged that US intelligence reports show Iraq has "weapons of mass destruction", a claim that built the case for the US invasion of Iraq but was later disproved.

The statement carried by IRNA said, "While Iran has not supplied Yemen with missiles, these hyperboles are also to serve other US agendas in the Middle East, including covering up for its adventurist acts in the region and its unbridled support for the Israeli regime."

The Thursday press conference came after a Dec. 6 announcement by US President Donald Trump that the country will recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the capital of the Israeli regime and he has ordered his administration to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. 

The controversial remarks led to widespread international opposition and sparked days of protest across the world and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"These accusations also seek to cover up for the Saudi war crimes in Yemen, with the US complicity, and divert international and regional attention from the stalemate war of aggression against the Yemenis," the statement said.

Yemen has been pounded by the expensive Saudi war machine since early 2015, in a campaign that has been portrayed as an attempt to protect democracy in the kingdom's southern neighbor.

The Saudi-led offensive has so far left thousands of civilians dead and three million displaced, crippled Yemen's infrastructure and health system, and pushed the country to the brink of the largest famine the world has seen for decades, as the UN has warned.

"While stressing the Yemenis' right to self-defense, we reiterate that the crisis has no military solution," Khoshroo said, repeating Iran's call for the political settlement of the devastating conflict.

***Repetitive Show

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Haley's claims by describing the presser as a "show", posting side-by-side photos of Haley at Thursday's news conference and Powell during his infamous 2003 speech arguing for an invasion of Iraq

"When I was based at the UN, I saw this show and what it begat," Zarif, who was Iran's representative to the United Nations at the time, wrote in a Twitter message, drawing a parallel between Haley's assertions and Powell's claims in the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

As he sought support for a new resolution, Powell said the US had a "thick intelligence file" detailing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, at one point using satellite photos and a fake anthrax vial as props.

The presentation came as the Trump administration seeks to rally the world to confront Iran for its ballistic missile program and other activities, despite backing away from threats to scuttle the 2015 nuclear deal.

Haley said the evidence was the first step in a "push back" against Iran's influence in the Middle East.

The US is going to "build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they're doing", Haley said, without going into specifics.

This is while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report this month the body has reached no conclusions on the missile and is "still analyzing the information provided".

Guterres made the remarks in a report submitted to the UN Security Council, addressing US and Saudi claims regarding Iran's role behind the missile attack.

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