Iran accuses US of trying to hide own role in Yemen
TEHRAN – Iran’s foreign minister accused the United States on Friday of trying to divert attention from its own responsibility for the deadly war in Yemen with claims of Iranian weapons shipments.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was responding to claims by US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that a missile fired by Yemeni rebels at Riyadh airport on November 4 was “made in Iran”.
“No amount of alternative facts or alternative evidence covers up US complicity in war,” Zarif said on Twitter.
“While Iran has been calling for ceasefire, aid and dialogue in Yemen from day 1, US has sold weapons enabling its allies to kill civilians and impose famine.”
Saudi Arabia, which has led a military intervention in Yemen with US backing since March 2015, on Friday demanded immediate action against its regional arch rival over the alleged missile deliveries.
“It is necessary to take immediate steps against the terrorist activities of the Iranian regime,” said a government statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Haley said Washington had “undeniable” evidence that at least two missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by the Yemeni rebels as well as other weaponry had been manufactured in Iran.
But her comments went beyond the findings of a UN investigation which reached no firm conclusion on whether the missiles came from an Iranian supplier, saying only that they had a “common origin” to some Iranian designs.
Asked about Haley’s claims that the evidence was irrefutable, Sweden’s ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog said: “She may be in possession of evidence that I have not seen. The information that I have up to now is less clear.”
The Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on rebel-held ports in Yemen in response to the November 4 missile attack which has been only partially lifted, intensifying what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
More than 8,750 people have been killed since the coalition launched its intervention, most of them civilians, according to the World Health Organization.
Some 8.4 million people are “a step away from famine”, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, warned on Monday.