The US on Thursday displayed pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan.
The Pentagon offered a detailed explanation of why it believed the arms on display came from Iran, noting what it said were Iranian corporate logos on arms fragments and the unique nature of the designs of Iranian weaponry.
The US acknowledged it could not say precisely when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis, and, in some cases, could not say when they were used. There was no immediate way to independently verify where the weapons were made or employed.
The presentation of hardware by the Pentagon, much of which was handed over by Saudi Arabia, coincides with growing concern in Congress over US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war, which has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Members of Congress have escalated their opposition to Saudi Arabia after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Despite administration pleas not to downgrade ties with the Saudis and thereby counter Iran, the Senate voted on Wednesday to advance a resolution to end military support for the Saudis in Yemen.
“I haven’t heard anybody say this is a political stunt. This is simply putting out in broad daylight Iran’s missiles and small arms and rockets and UAVs and drones,” US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said on Thursday after being asked whether the display was done for propaganda reasons.
These are the captured weapons the US showed.
Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile.
Qiam missiles, which have a range of 435—497 miles and a payload of 1,653 pounds, have been in Iranian service since 2017.
The Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital Sanaa, have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict that is a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Sayyad-2 surface-to-air missile.
Unveiled in 2011, Sayyad-2 missiles have a range 48-62 miles and a payload of approximately 441 pounds.
The US said the “Sayyad-2” surface-to-air missile above had been interdicted by the Saudi government in early 2018 on the way to Houthi militants in Yemen.
Qasef-1s are low-tech drones that can be used for surveillance or fitted with explosives, but the Houthis may have used them as kamikaze vehicles to damage radars for Saudi Arabia’s Patriot missile defense systems.
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Source: Business insider