Efforts by the Trump administration to build a case against Iran this week over alleged violations of an international arms agreement appeared to lack evidence of the charge, The New York Times reports.
On Thursday, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley stood before a display of weaponry she said was provided by Iran to Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen’s ongoing war. She said the weapons showed Iran’s failure to comply with a 2015 resolution barring the country from selling, supplying or transferring certain munitions outside of the country without Security Council approval. The weapons on display were provided to the U.S. government by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Nobody doubts that Saudi Arabia has been conducting activities that are violations of the rules of war, either.”
The display included pieces of what defense officials said was an Iranian made missile fired by Houthi militants at an airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government earlier said the firing of the missile was an “act of war” by Iran.
“When you look at this missile, this is terrifying,” Haley said. “Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK,” she said, naming two prominent U.S. airports. She said the Trump administration is seeking to rally other countries to crack down on Iran.
“You will see us build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they’re doing,” she said.
Other American officials, however, said they could not confirm when the weapons in question were delivered to the Houthis. To have been a violation, the transfer would have had to occur before the U.N. resolution was put into effect.
“Nobody who is serious about this doubts that Iran has been helping the Houthis,” said Robert Malley, former director of Middle East policy in the Obama administration. “Nobody doubts that that’s wrong,” he said.
But, he continued, “Nobody doubts that Saudi Arabia has been conducting activities that are violations of the rules of war, either.”
The Bush administration’s accusations over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, later disproven, could damage the chances of sanctions further.
International pressure has built on Saudi Arabia over its military actions in Yemen, including bombings resulting in civilian casualties.
Despite the administration’s efforts, the U.S. will likely have difficulty convincing other Security Council nations to sanction Iran. The Bush administration’s accusations over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, later disproven, could damage the chances further.
“The U.S. is going to be suspect because of Iraq, and it’s going to be suspect because it’s this administration,” said Wendy Sherman, an Obama administration undersecretary of state who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal. “The bar is going to be high, as it should be.”
You can read the full article on The New York Times website.