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UN does not confirm Iran link to Yemen missiles — report

By AFP - Dec 12,2017 - Last updated at Dec 12,2017

UNITED NATIONS, United States — UN officials who examined debris from missiles fired at Saudi Arabia from Yemen have not confirmed that they were Iranian-made but are still analysing the information, according to a confidential report obtained by AFP on Monday.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Yemen's Houthi rebels who fired a missile intercepted near Riyadh airport on November 4.

Weapons supplies to the Houthis would be in violation of a UN arms embargo on Yemen and of a ban on weapons sales by Iran.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that the missiles fired on July 22 and November 4 both had a diameter that was "consistent" with a Scud missile. The Qiam-1 is a variant of the Scud missile. 

Guterres said "the missiles had similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin", according to the report sent to the council on Friday.

He cautioned that UN officials were still "carefully reviewing all the information and material available", but offered no firm conclusions.

A separate team of UN experts who inspected the missile fragments during a visit to Riyadh last month found a possible link to an Iranian manufacturer, the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group which is on the UN sanctions blacklist.

The experts who report to the sanctions committee found a component marked by a logo similar to that of the banned group, which is a subsidiary of the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organisation.

In his report, Guterres said officials had seen the logo but again said they were still analysing the information.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley has called for international action against Iran over the missile attacks from Yemen against Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh has described as a "direct aggression".

Iran has repeatedly denied that it is arming the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis imposed a blockade of Yemen's air and sea ports and borders after the missile was fired at Riyadh, citing concerns that weapons were being smuggled into Yemen.

During a fact-finding mission to Saudi Arabia, UN officials also examined two drones recovered in Yemen but did not confirm a Saudi claim that one of them was Iranian-made. 

 

Guterres also raised violations of a travel ban by senior Iranian military commander, Major General Qasem Soleimani, to Iraq and Syria.

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