Arms seized by U.S., missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia 'of Iranian origin': U.N.
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cruise missiles used in several attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia last year were "of Iranian origin," United States Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council Reuters had seen on Thursday.
Guterres also said that several items of weapons and related materials seized in the U.S. in November 2019 and February 2020 were "Iranian in origin".
Some have similar design features to those made by a commercial entity in Iran, or carry Farsi markings, Guterres said, and some were delivered to the country between February 2016 and April 2018.
He said "these items may have been transferred in a manner that is inconsistent with a Security Council resolution of 2015," which enshrines Tehran's agreement with the world powers to prevent the development of nuclear weapons.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the United States report.
Washington urges the 15-member council to extend an arms embargo against Iran, which is due to expire in October under the nuclear deal. The veto powers of the Russia and China Council have already signaled their opposition to this move.
Guterres reports to the Security Council twice a year on the implementation of an arms embargo against Iran and other restrictions that continue to exist after the agreement.
The head of the United States said the United Nations had investigated debris from weapons attacks on a Saudi oil factory in Afif in May, at Abha International Airport in June and August, and at Saudi Aramco oil factories in Khurais and Abqaiq in September were used.
"The Secretariat assesses that the cruise missiles used in the four attacks and / or parts thereof are of Iranian origin," Guterres wrote. Guterres also said that drones used in the May and September attacks were "of Iranian origin".
He also said the United Nations had observed that some items in the two U.S. seizures were "identical or similar" to the debris from the cruise missiles and drones used in the 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Guterres said the Iranian UN envoy said in a letter dated May 22 that "it was not Iran’s policy to export weapons in breach of relevant Security Council arms embargoes" and that it’s “continuing to work actively with the United Nations will "this regard."
The Security Council will discuss Guterres' report later this month.
U.S. Ambassador to the United States, Kelly Craft, said she would distribute a draft resolution to soon extend the arms embargo against Iran. If Washington remains unsuccessful, it has threatened to trigger a return of all U.S. sanctions against Iran under the nuclear deal, even though it terminated the deal in 2018. Diplomats say Washington is likely to face a tough, chaotic struggle.
Iran violated parts of the nuclear deal in response to the US withdrawal and Washington reintroduction of sanctions.
"I urge all Member States to avoid provocative rhetoric and measures that can have a negative impact on regional stability," Guterres wrote in the 14-page report.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)
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