Yesterday the U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley went to the Defense Intelligence Agency for a little show. She claimed to expose Iran as an illegal source of weapons used by Yemeni forces in their fight against Saudi aggressors.
It reminded of the times when Vice President Dick Cheney visited the CIA to tell its analysts what they were supposed to write about “Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction”.
Haley covered the advice she was giving to the DIA as a press conference. Her props were alleged missile parts recovered somewhere at some unknown time. She claimed that these were provided by the Saudis and the UAE and showed debris of missiles fired from Yemen. Haley further claimed that Iran had delivered such missiles to Yemen in breach of UN resolution 2231 that restricts such transfers.
There are several possible explanations of where the Houthi and their then allied Yemeni army might have acquired such missiles. But even if one accepts that Iran delivered these, it is unknown when such deliveries might have taken place. It could have happened years before the UN resolution restricted such deliveries. Haley’s show proved nothing with regards to any breach.
Haley claimed that the UN had found that the missile debris on display was from an Iranian Qiam missile. But the UN has made no such findings. It only said that the debris and Qiam missiles “had similar structural and manufacturing features”. The Iranian Qiam missile ..
.. is a short-range ballistic missile designed and built by Iran. It was developed from the Iranian Shahab-2, a licensed copy of the North Korean Hwasong-6, all of which are versions of the Soviet Scud-C missile.
There are many variants of the Soviet Scud family (A, B, C) produced in various countries and they naturally all have “similar structural and manufacturing features”.
The Yemeni military bought Soviet Scuds (pdf) and Scuds were used in earlier conflicts between north and south Yemen. The Yemeni military also bought North Korean Hwasong 5 and likely also Hwasong 6 missiles directly from North Korea. The Yemeni army has over 30 years of experience with such missiles and qualified personal to modify these if needed.
Haley simply lied about the UN findings. They do not say what she claims. Indeed the UN panel acknowledged that the similarities found do not prove the origin:
[T]he panel said it “as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier” of the missiles, ..
Haley pointed to one alleged part of the missile debris that bore a logo of an Iranian company. She neglected to point out that the UN panel also found U.S. made hardware as part of the missiles. Neither proves where the missile came from.