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Saudi ambassador to US: Hard to see a path to a trustworthy dialogue with Iran

Published: Updated:

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, responded to Iran's continuing denial, through its foreign minister Javad Zarif, of its involvement in supplying the Houthi militias with missiles.

He emphasized that the denial is another occasion to proof that the dialogue and building confidence with the Iranian regime, is very difficult.

He said in a tweet “this is a constant with the Iranian regime; when faced with evidence of their destabilizing and illegal activities they react with denials and accusations of fabrication. It’s hard for us to see a path to a trustworthy dialogue with such behavior.”

Prince Khalid was commenting on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif interview, in which he claimed that the recovered missile fragments presented by the US as a proof against his country, was “little more than cheese puffs.”

Zarif, in an Associated Press interview, said that one such logo was from the Standard Institute of Iran, which he said regulates consumer goods - not weapons.

The United States stood by its claims, pointing out that the evidence Haley presented went far beyond a single logo.

“The evidence in the Iranian Materiel Display is not fabricated,” said Defense Department spokeswoman Laura Seal. She said the U.S. had shown the evidence to 65 countries, allowing the world to “assess the evidence for themselves.”

Some of the fragments Haley presented mplicate Iran’s military industry more directly, including some with the logos of Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group and Shaheed Hemat Industries Group, Iranian defense entities under U.S. sanctions. Others had what Haley called “Iranian missile fingerprints,” such as short-range ballistic missiles that lacked large stabilizer fins - a feature she said only Iran’s Qiam missiles have.

Haley’s office responded to Zarif’s comments by calling the evidence of illegal Iranian weapons shipments “overwhelming and beyond dispute.”

“The fact that the Iranian regime insists on lying about that only highlights its lack of trustworthiness on every international agreement it is party to,” the U.S. Mission to the U.N. said.

Prince Khalid's comments came after Saudi Arabia's UN envoy Abdullah al-Muallami, on Thursday, called on the UN Security Council "to take a firm stand on Iran's aggressive practices."

"Iran continues to support the armed militias in Yemen and Syria," he said in a speech to the Security Council in New York on the situation in the Middle East.

"Iran is exerting its flagrant interference in the Arab countries, spreading and financing terrorism, and is the first supporter of Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon and carries out terrorist operations in Syria," he said.

"Tehran supports the Houthi militias with weapons and missiles that target Saudi Arabia," he said, referring to expert reports that the missiles that hit Saudi Arabia were made by Iran.