London, 20 Jan – According to remarks her to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has illegally shipped ballistic missiles to regional proxies that have in turn targeted civilians. In a scathing broadside against Iran during a discussion on nuclear proliferation, Haley said, “[Iran] provides ballistic missiles in violation of U.N. arms embargoes. Its proxies launch them at civilian targets, as we saw when Houthi militias in Yemen fired an Iranian-supplied missile at an airport in Riyadh.” She called the regime in Tehran “the leading cause of instability in an unstable part of the world.”
The U.S. has led calls implicating Iran in a November ballistic missile attack by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia. Saudi air defenses intercepted the ballistic missile that had been fired towards the capital Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in struggle for influence in the Middle East. Riyadh is especially sensitive to the civil war in its backyard Yemen, a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced over two million.
According to a leaked United Nations report the Security Council agrees with the position of the United States, in part. It verified that weapons originating from Iran made their way to Yemen, in violation of a U.N. embargo. However, the United Nations said the Iranian-made weapons could have been supplied by a third party.
However, nations were called on to intervene to stop arms transfers or transfers of related material from Iran or Iranian nationals, as part of the 2015 nuclear deal.
As well, Iran’s regional proxy wars were tied to recent unrest in the country by Haley. “When the Iranian people protest their money being diverted to terrorists, the regime arrests them and kills them. It silences their voices and lies about their motivations,” she said.
At the end of December, protests stormed across Iran, but in the face of a government crackdown, they had now ended. After 21 people were killed and hundreds arrested in the rallies, Haley called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the protests.
The Associated Press reported that Iran’s United Nations ambassador accused the U.S. of bullying, saying it was a “discredit for the Security Council” to discuss a purely domestic matter.