UNITED NATIONS－UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations has not been able to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and drones used in attacks earlier this year on an airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia “are of Iranian origin”.
The UN chief said in a report to the council obtained on Friday by The Associated Press that the UN also can’t confirm that the missiles and drones were transferred from Iran “in a manner inconsistent” with the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six key countries.
The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks. The Saudis said the missiles and drones were Iranian but stopped short of accusing Iran of firing them.
The UN chief said the UN examined debris from the weapon systems used in the attacks and is still collecting and analyzing additional information and trying to establish the supply chain. He said he will report on its further findings “in due course, as appropriate”.
The report also includes allegations from the US, Israel, France, Germany and the United Kingdom that Iran carried out ballistic missile-related activities that go against the resolution’s call on Teheran not to undertake any activity related to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. It also includes Iran’s denial of all allegations and statement that none of its missiles are “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.
Guterres made no assessment of the allegations and the denials.
The Security Council is scheduled to receive an open briefing on the report on Dec 19.
On the Saudi attacks, Guterres said UN experts were able to examine debris recovered by the Saudis from a June 12 attack on the Abha international airport in the southwest, from attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais on Sept 14, from a second attack on the Abha airport in August, and an attack on another oil facility in Afif in May.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the Aramco drone attack on the world’s largest crude oil processing plant that dramatically cut into global oil supplies. The US accused Iran of being behind the assault, while Saudi Arabia said “Iranian weaponry” was used. Iran denied its weapons were involved.
Guterres said UN officials were informed that 18 drones were used in the attack on Abqaiq, four cruise missiles in the attack on Khurais, and three cruise missiles fell short of their target, “for a total of 25 weapons systems”. The UN confirmed these numbers and said they were “inconsistent with the statements made by the Houthis”, he said.