Trump warns UN diplomats of Iran-Houthi weapons

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Metal debris at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. US officials say it is from arms that Iran provided to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. (US Mission to the UN)
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Metal debris at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. US officials say it is from arms that Iran provided to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. (US Mission to the UN)
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Metal debris at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. US officials say it is from arms that Iran provided to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. (US Mission to the UN)
Updated 30 January 2018

Trump warns UN diplomats of Iran-Houthi weapons

NEW YORK: United States President Donald Trump urged UN Security Council envoys to clamp down on Iranian aggression on Monday after they were shown what US officials say are debris from an Iranian-built missile fired at Saudi Arabia.

Trump dined with diplomats from the UN’s decision-making body at the White House after they toured Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington to see the twisted metal fragments from a weapon that Tehran allegedly provided to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The billionaire said the 15-nation body has “much work” on its agenda, including “countering Iran’s destabilization activities” in the region as he seeks to tighten a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US and other world powers.

He mentioned the “display of Iranian missiles and arms that the regime has transferred to its militant allies in Yemen” that envoys saw earlier on a tour, escorted by Washington’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley.

“We believe what the Council saw today makes it clear that the evidence continues to grow that Iran is blatantly ignoring its international obligations,” Haley said.

“Iran’s aggression is a threat not just to its neighbors, but to the entire world – it cannot get away with this lawless behavior any longer. We will continue to call out Iran’s actions every chance we can until they change course and abide by their commitments.”

US officials say the wreckage displayed at the 905-acre military base comes from an Iran-made short-range ballistic missile provided to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who fired it at an international airport near Riyadh in November.

The missile was shot down and caused no casualties. Iran denies arming the Houthis.
UN Security Council investigators reported this month that Iran had violated UN sanctions on Yemen because “it failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of short-range ballistic missiles and other gear to the Houthis.

The independent experts said they had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo”.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif chided the Trump administration for spreading “fake news” about Tehran’s activities in Yemen.

US-Iran relations have worsened under Trump, who threatens to leave the nuclear deal unless it is rewritten to permanently block Tehran from building nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Haley seeks to persuade UN Security Council members to act against Iran, possibly via sanctions. She faces opposition from Russia, which has better ties with Tehran, and Washington’s European allies, who want the 2015 deal to stick.

In particular, Trump has criticized Tehran for backing Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are locked in a grinding war with forces from a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government.

Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia joins Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined Arab states on Tuesday in condemning a decision by the United States to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Breaking decades of international consensus, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Saudi Arabia firmly rejected the decision and affirmed its position that Golan Heights was occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The declaration, made by the US, is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the report said.

The US decision was a violation of Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 497 of 1981, and would have devastating implications on the peace process in the Middle East, as well as security and stability in the region, Saudi Arabia’s official statement said.

Saudi Arabia called on all parties to respect the decisions of international legitimacy and the charter of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory,

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.