Latest Yemen Rebel Missile Fired at Riyadh ‘Bears Hallmarks’ of Iran

A missile fired from Yemen at the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, bears the hallmarks of a weapon provided by Iran, the U.S. ambassador to the UN has said as quoted by BBC. Nikki Haley said Iran’s actions threatened to drag the world “deeper into a broadening regional conflict”.

The missile was shot down by Saudi Arabia’s military on Tuesday. There were no reports of any damage. The Houthis’ Al Masirah TV reported that a Burkan H2 ballistic missile had been targeted at a royal palace in Riyadh. The report on Al Masirah’s website said the launch was “in response to the heinous crimes committed by the U.S.-Saudi aggression against the people of Yemen”.

“The missile had targeted a meeting of the leadership of the Saudi regime in al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh, during which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was expected to discuss the kingdom’s annual budget,” Al Masirah said.

The palace is the main headquarters of the king’s office and the royal court. Minutes later, Saudi state-run Al Ikhbariya TV reported that a missile had been intercepted south of the capital. Videos posted online showed a white cloud above the city and the sound of an explosion.

Coalition spokesman Col Turki al-Maliki said the missile was intercepted by a Patriot missile south of the city. He said the attack proved the “continued involvement” of Iran in supporting the Houthis. Another Burkan H2 came close to hitting Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport on November 4.

Saudi officials said U.S.-supplied Patriot batteries had also intercepted the missile in flight. But analysts have since cast doubt on that assertion and said the missile’s warhead landed close to the domestic terminal.  The U.S., which backs the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, later said it had “undeniable” evidence that the missile had been made in Iran.

Addressing the UN Security Council in New York as she pushed the UN Security Council to act, Haley said the missile “bears all the hallmarks of previous attacks using Iranian-provided weapons” and that evidence is mounting that Iran is supplying arms to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, in violation of the resolution that put the Iran nuclear deal into international law.

“This is the Secretary-General’s fourth report on the Iranian regime’s lack of full compliance with Resolution 2231 and it is the most damning report yet. This report makes the case that Iran is illegally transferring weapons. We must all act co-operatively to expose the crimes of the Tehran regime and do whatever is needed to make sure they get the message. If we do not, then Iran will bring the world deeper into a broadening regional conflict,” she said.

Haley said that based on a new report by the UN Secretary-General, new pressure on Iran’s continued behavior could lead to a new resolution against the Tehran regime or the strengthening present ones.

“Based on the UN report, we have an opportunity to confront the Iranian regime for its actions that are clearly in violation of Security Council resolutions. The international community must demonstrate that we are committed to ensuring accountability for the full spectrum of Iran’s malign behavior. The Security Council must follow through on the violations listed in the Secretary-General’s report,” she said.

Haley said the council could strengthen the resolution, adopt a new one to prohibit all Iranian ballistic missile activity, explore sanctions “in response to its clear violation of the Yemen arms embargo,” and hold the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accountable for violating numerous council resolutions.

She suggested a list of measures the council could take against Tehran but Russia, which has friendly relations with Iran, signaled it would not support them. Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said that what is needed to implement the resolution on the nuclear deal is “to abandon the language of threats and sanctions, and to start using the instruments of dialogue — and concentrate on broadening cooperation and mutual trust.”

Safronkov stressed that the resolution makes no demand — it calls on Iran not to carry out ballistic missile activity that could be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. He accused the UN Secretariat of carrying out investigations without prior Security Council approval, saying it “has neither the authority nor the expertise” and the information obtained “cannot be considered accurate.”