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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

UN says missiles fired at Saudi Arabia have 'common origin'

The components 'bore the castings of a logo similar' to that of a UN-blacklisted company 

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the missiles the Houthis fired at Saudi Arabia had "similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin". In this picture, taken on December 6, 2017, he addresses the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in New York. Justine Lane / EPA
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the missiles the Houthis fired at Saudi Arabia had "similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin". In this picture, taken on December 6, 2017, he addresses the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in New York. Justine Lane / EPA

United Nations officials have found that missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by Yemen's Houthi rebels appear to have a "common origin", but they are still investigating US and Saudi claims that Iran supplied them, according to a confidential report.

The officials travelled to Saudi Arabia to examine the debris of missiles fired on July 22 and November 4, wrote UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in the fourth bi-annual report on the implementation of UN sanctions and restrictions on Iran.

They found "that the missiles had similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin", said Mr Guterres in the Friday report to the UN Security Council.

The report comes amid calls by the United States for Iran to be held accountable for violating UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen and Iran by supplying weapons to the Houthis.

Saudi-led forces, which back the internationally-recognised Yemeni government, have fought the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen's more than two-year-long civil war. Saudi Arabia's crown prince has described Iran's supply of rockets to the Houthis as "direct military aggression" that could be an act of war.

Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons, saying the US and Saudi allegations are "baseless and unfounded".

Mr Guterres's report said the UN officials saw three components, which Saudi authorities said came from the missile fired on November 4. The components "bore the castings of a logo similar to that of the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group" — a UN-blacklisted company.

The officials are "still analysing the information collected and will report back to the Security Council", wrote Mr Guterres.

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A separate report to the Security Council last month by a panel of independent experts monitoring sanctions imposed in Yemen found that four missiles fired this year into Saudi Arabia appear to have been designed and manufactured by Iran.

However, the panel said it "as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier" of the missiles, which were likely shipped to the Houthis in violation of a targeted UN arms embargo imposed on Houthi leaders in April 2015.

Most UN sanctions on Iran were lifted in January last year when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under a nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions.

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