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Tehran Disputes “Evidence” of Arms Transfer to Yemen

Tehran Disputes “Evidence” of Arms Transfer to YemenTehran Disputes “Evidence” of Arms Transfer to Yemen

Senior officials have disputed the evidence that the United States claims points to Iran’s supply of weapons to Houthi fighters in Yemen, as Washington escalated efforts to put pressure on Tehran on Monday.

US President Donald Trump’s administration took ambassadors from the United Nations Security Council on a field trip to inspect what American officials claimed were remnants of Iranian missiles and other weaponry illegally supplied to the Houthis, the New York Times reported.

The missile fragments, along with other military equipment, were first unveiled last month by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.

In a tweet on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US is “fabricating” evidence against Iran.

“A while ago US showed a Saudi-supplied Iranian missile intact. They must’ve been told a missile destroyed by a Patriot does not land fully assembled,” he said, adding that the missile fragments presented to the UNSC countries bear the logo of the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, which is placed on foodstuffs in the country.

“Try fabricating ‘evidence’ again,” Zarif said, in an apparent reference to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq based on false information about weapons of mass destruction.

According to AP, Haley, who led her Security Council colleagues on the tour at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, said in a message to the Russians, “How do you dispute this? It’s got ‘Made in Iran’ welded on it,” referring to markings on the missiles that US defense officials claim suggest Iranian origin.

  Iranophobic Narrative

Zarif earlier wrote on Twitter that the objective of the field trip is to create an “Iranophobic narrative” at the UN Security Council—through wining and dining and fake ‘evidence’.”

The ambassadors were also White House lunch guests of Trump, who pressed them to counter “Iran’s destabilization activities in the Middle East.”

Iran has dismissed accusations that its regional activities are destabilizing.

Haley has presented the military equipment as proof that Iran had violated UN sanctions on supplies of weaponry to Houthi fighters in Yemen, where more than 10,000 people have died in a war that began three years ago.

Most of the materials were provided to the US government by Saudi Arabia.

  Psychological Warfare

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi told Press TV on Monday that the US allegations about Tehran supplying Yemen with missiles is the start of a “psychological warfare” campaign rooted in Washington’s continuous policy failures in the region.

“The current efforts follow previous shows by the US and its envoy to the UN. It comes after the US suffered repeated failures in its foreign policy. This is Washington’s new propaganda and part of a new psychological warfare against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.

“It is just another futile effort which will not do the US any good at the end of the day,” said Qasemi.

Weapons experts have said the presentation—of fragments of what military officials claimed were Iranian-made Qiam missiles, as well as a drone and an anti-tank missile—had failed to prove conclusively that Iran violated any sanctions, according to the New York Times.

It was unclear on Monday whether Haley provided additional material to bolster the administration’s case.

Journalists were not invited, although photos provided by Haley’s office showed mangled hunks of metal, the drone, and other items that were part of the presentation she made in December. The provenance of the displayed pieces, including when and where they were collected, was not explained.

  Action on Missiles

In addition, Haley suggested that a concerted global effort to punish Iran for alleged violation of Security Council resolutions on ballistic missiles could persuade Trump it was worthwhile to remain in the nuclear deal.

She noted that France, a key member of the group that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, had recently “started hitting” Iran rhetorically over its ballistic missile activities.

“It’s working,” Haley said after meeting with Trump and the other ambassadors. “They’re starting to realize, ‘If we don’t start talking about the violations, if we don’t call them out, then the US is going to say this whole thing is a sham.”

The Trump administration has been trying to persuade the European nations that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal to accept side deals under which they would join the US in reimposing sanctions if Iran continues ballistic missile testing or refuses UN inspections of sensitive sites.

Trump’s threats to rip up the painstakingly negotiated deal have become a key point of tension between the US and European nations.

Iran says its missiles are for defensive purposes only and that its military sites are outside the purview of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

 

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