“We are not worried about the fact that the world knows Iran has given arms to Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told Iran’s Arabic News Channel Al-Alam on December 20.
Velayati insisted that “these weapons are used to confront Da’esh (Islamic State militants or IS) and other takfiri (Sunni extremist) terrorist movements in the region.”
Meanwhile, he maintained Iran has never provided Houthis with missiles.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Tehran of delivering surface-to-surface missile to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
On November 4, a Saudi-manned Patriot anti-missile defense system intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile south of Riyadh, fired from Yemen by Houthi militants.
The Houthi-run Saba News claimed the missile was a Burkan-2 (Volcano) ballistic missile, targeted at King Khalid International Airport. According to Saudi media, fragments of the missile landed in an uninhabited area of the airport without causing casualties or damage.
A statement released by the official Saudi news agency, SPA, cited evidence alleging Iran was behind the strike, calling it a “potential act of war.”
The statement also announced the temporary closure of all Yemeni ground entry points, airports, and seaports, adding an investigation had been launched to establish how a missile of this type was smuggled into Yemen (with an implication that it was by Iran).
Iran and Houthis denied the allegation.
Later, at a press conference on December 14, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley said undeniable evidence proves Iran is arming Houthi rebels in Yemen.
At the press conference held at an emptied-out hangar at a military base not far from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Haley showed reporters singed fragments recovered from missiles launched from Yemen, targeting Saudi Arabia. Haley said the truck-sized missile segment behind her had been fired at the international airport in Riyadh and "led the U.S. intelligence community to conclude unequivocally that these weapons were supplied by the Iranian regime."
The missile’s specifications, according to Haley, are similar to those made in Iran.
Furthermore, Haley said, the logo on the body of the intercepted missile belongs to Iran’s Shahid Baqeri Industrial Group.
"This is absolutely terrifying," said Haley. "Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK, or the airports in Paris, London, or Berlin. That's what we're talking about here."
Meanwhile, Haley urged the world to react against Iran’s aggressive and destabilizing moves.
Iranian officials immediately dismissed Haley’s comments as “worthless” and warned they would pursue the case with the UN.
Speaking at a meeting of commanders of the Iranian Army in Tehran on December 20, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami denounced the “unfounded and baseless allegations” leveled against Iran by Haley and said such claims are indicative of the failure of Washington’s policies in the region and the world.
Such remarks are more like “a ridiculous and worthless show,” he said.
He further made assurances that Iran would pursue the issue through legal channels.
Velayati insisted in his interview with Al-Alam thatIran has not supplied any missiles to Yemen, adding Yemen does not need any arms as the nation has so far been quite capable to stand against the “Saudi aggression” with the military equipment it already possesses.
“This is not the first time this woman [Haley] has said such nonsense. She, who has no solid diplomatic record, makes comments that force even other [UN] envoys and U.S. diplomats to protest,” he said.
Referring to the remnants of the missile Haley showcased, Velayati said, “She has set a piece on a corner and says Iran delivered these missiles to Yemen. How did she reach such a definite conclusion? This woman has repeatedly made many unfounded comments. The reason behind making these remarks is the fact that she wants to cover up their allies’ defeat at the hand of Yemenis. Nevertheless, they should rest assured that the final winner of this war are the people of Yemen.”
“We are not worried about the fact that the world knows Iran has given arms to Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon,” he added.