Iranian officials have demanded they receive a portion of the missile that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claimed was among the "concrete evidence" that Iran was supplying arms illegally to Yemeni rebels.
Haley made the allegation Thursday while speaking in a U.S. military hanger that she said housed several pieces of evidence of Iran's wrongdoing, with the bus-sized cylindrical missile body as the centerpiece. Haley said the missile had been fired from rebel Houthi-controlled territory and targeted an international airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but missed its target.
Among other things, Haley said the missile resembled the kind made in Iran and said other missile debris is stamped with the logo of an Iranian manufacturer.
"This evidence is part of what has led the U.S. intelligence community to conclude, unequivocally, that these weapons were supplied by the Iranian regime," she said of the missile and other weapons allegedly supplied by Iran. "The evidence is undeniable. The weapons might as well have had 'Made in Iran' stickers all over it."
The New York Times reported, however, that defense officials were unable to provide a timeline for the alleged weapons transfers, which would be key to proving Iran had violated U.N. agreements. After the presentation, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the allegations baseless and implied Haley's presentation was similar to the case then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made before the U.N. in 2003 on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
Now top Iranian officials have said they will file an official complaint before the U.N. and will demand that a portion of the missile be sent to Iran for its own analysis.
"The technical bodies of the Islamic Republic's defense sector have compiled a complaint at the UN to request transparency," Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said, according to Iran's Fars News outlet. "The enemies of the Islamic Republic may raise any kind of allegation, but once the complaint is filed, a piece of the missile should be delivered to Iran at the request of the Islamic Republic."
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