Iranian Arms Exports Presser With Declassified Visual Evidence
delivered 14 December 2017, Washington, D.C.
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
First of all, I'd like to thank all of you for being here, and I do apologize for the delay. It goes to back to warrant [why] I prefer the train, as it's more reliable.
This is really important that you be here today, because we have a story to
tell, and the story is a very important one. And itís not just important
for the United States, itís important for the entire international
community. As President Trump announced on October 13th, the United States
is taking a new approach to Iran by focusing on all of the regimeís
destabilizing behavior. That means we are not just focused on the
Weíre also taking a hard look at Iranís ballistic missile program, its
arms exports, and its support for terrorists, proxy fighters, and
You will see material from an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a kamikaze drone, that can take out radar site -- radar sites.
You will see material from the
explosive boat. These are boats with a warhead inside them that explodes
on impact. They can blow six feet wide holes in the hulls of ships.
This evidence is part of what has led the U.S. intelligence community to
conclude, unequivocally, that these weapons were supplied by the Iranian
The evidence is undeniable. The weapons might as well have had "Made in
Iran" stickers all over it.
I will be happy to take your questions.
I do first want to thank the Department of Defense, their intelligence experts, all that went into this. When you look at this missile, this is terrifying. This is absolutely terrifying, and this is why it has to stop. We have said multiple times that this is not just about the nuclear program. This is about everything else they're doing. Because Iran believes that they have been given a pass, it is incumbent on the international community to show not only are they not being given a pass, but all of these actions have to stop and stop immediately. And we'll continue to do that as we go forward.
So Laura Seal will be giving you a tour.
I'm now going to open it up for questions. I'm going to respectfully ask that we keep the questions all on foreign policy. If you have any other questions to follow, Janie [ph] will be happy to answer those. But we'll go ahead and get started.
Elise [ph], we'll start with you.
Question: Thank you, Ambassador. Thank you for having us. Two quick questions. First off...you said that these weapons were debris from the missile that was directed at Saudi, but then you said that it is conclusive of a (quote), "pattern of behavior." Can you talk about, you know, the pattern of behavior? And then also, what are your next steps when you say that you're looking for the international community to join us? Are you seeking a new resolution at the UN? Are you seeking additional sanctions on Iran? What does this have to do with the nuclear deal? What are your next policy steps? Thank you.
Ambassador Haley: Well, I think first what you're going to see here on display -- and I want to thank Secretary Mattis for being so important in getting this done. What you're going to see on this display is multiple types of weapons, used in different areas against our partners. As we look at what has happened -- these are on loan from Saudi Arabia; some are on loan from the UAE. But it's the international community's way of coming together and saying, we have a problem. And we need to address it. So what I will tell you is when you look at these, there is no denying that these have Iranian marks all over them.
Where do we go from here?
Well, I think the President made the first start by decertifying the Iran deal, basically with Congress, so that Congress can start looking at these other things that Iran is doing, whether it's ballistic missile strikes, whether it's export of arms or related material to be used, whether it's support of terrorists. Any sort of action that destabilizes the region, that's all against U.S.-- United Security Council resolutions, and so we want to make sure that we're holding them accountable.
Where do we go from here?
You will see an effort by not only all agencies within this Administration, but within the international community that is going to come together and find ways to stop Iran from what they're doing. And yes, we -- we have already started to talk to our partners in the Security Council. That will just be one avenue of what we do.
The NSC is pulling together all types of other reactions that we will have. We're working with [the] State Department. We're working with the Department of Defense. But you will see forthcoming information from the Security Council.
Question: Ambassador, how was this weapon resupplied to the Houthi fighters in Yemen? Can you explain the chain of custody?
Ambassador Haley: Well, I mean I think what you're looking at is obviously Iran supplied it to the Houthis, and then the Houthis used it against Saudi Arabia. But we're not just seeing activity in Yemen. What we're also seeing is activity in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria. And we'll be able to show all of those. And there is more coming. This is not it.
There is a lot more of uncomfortable evidence that the international community will look at and realize how dangerous this is.
I think there was a question over -- yes.
Question: Missy Ryan from the Washington Post, thank you. The Administration has been talking about Iranian involvement, or the U.S. government, in general, has been talking about Iranian involvement in Yemen for some time. Does the evidence, the material that we're seeing today indicate a different kind of involvement, or is it just, as you said before, an expansion of the involvement -- the Iranian military involvement in Yemen? And then the second question would be: Are there specific actions that you're asking members of Congress to take after this, to follow up on Elise's question, or European countries to take?
Ambassador Haley: Well, I think, first of all, this is an example of a growing threat that is happening by Iran. And the nuclear deal, why -- while so much of the international community invested in it, the President said, there were problems. And these are the problems that he was talking about, and this is the message that we have to get out. Everyone has focused on the nuclear deal, and Iran has hidden behind the nuclear deal, constantly threatening to get out of it. But these are the things they're doing while we're all looking the other way. And these are the things that will be dangerous, that will lead us to the next North Korea if we don't do something to stop it. And so you will continue to see us move forward. The international community is concerned. This was the strongest Secretary General's report that we have seen in reference to the violations by Iran, and we don't intend to let that go.
Question: Just to follow up, European countries, are you asking them to do something specific on Iran's ballistic missile program or the weapons -- or the military transfers?
Ambassador Haley: It's not just European countries that we're going to be asking; we're going to be asking the entire international community. And yes, we will start with the Security Council, in terms of doing that, but it is time for all of them to wake up. This is going to be eye-opening. Many have already seen it. More are coming to see it. In terms of Congress...the President very much wants to work with Congress on how we're going to approach Iran going forward. And so I think that as they go through that legislation, that's going to be a lot of what they look at is how do we deal with these destabilizing behaviors that we're seeing by Iran.
Question: Nick Waters from Bloomberg. Do you have any evidence to suggest when this particular missile was imported or exported to the Houthis rebels? And then second, when you gather up all the evidence here, does this make you believe that it is time to exit the nuclear deal for good.
Ambassador Haley: So I think that these -- and I'll let DoD explain this further -- this is from the last two attacks that we saw coming from Yemen. And so this is very recent. This is not old. These just happened, and so that is the reason why we have the concern. In terms of the nuclear deal, you know, we have said, everything doesn't have to be tied to the nuclear deal, but it does have to be tied to the Security Council resolutions. This is blatant -- This is blatant violation of what they are not supposed to be doing, and what we are saying is everybody has tiptoed around Iran, in fear of them getting out of the nuclear deal. And they are allowing missiles like this to be fired over to innocent civilians and hurt. And that is what has to stop. And so we will continue to raise and build the international community support to say, this is not about the nuclear deal. This is about all other actions. And the President will work with Congress on how do we go forward in dealing with Iran at this -- in this way. But the nuclear deal is not something that we're focused on now. It's focusing on the threat that Iran is posing as we know it.
Question: Ambassador Haley, you mentioned that some folks have already come and looked at this evidence; others are on their way. Has there been a change in tone from our allies after seeing this evidence? And what have they expressed in...steps they're interested in seeing taken now?
Ambassador Haley: What I've seen from our foreign partners is that while they were just so worried about the United States getting out of the nuclear deal and so worried about the President decertifying, now they actually see that the President was right. Now they see that, yes, there are problems. Yes, there are other activities -- because they're feeling it in their own countries. They all know that this could have hit any one of their airports. They all know that this isn't just about Saudi Arabia or UAE. They get the fact that there's a threat. I think now they realize they can't look the other way any longer. They have to address this. And so you will see we are already getting support for the fact that we have to do something about these violations.
Question: Just to follow up on that, you said that you're looking to take action from the international community, in what form is that?
Ambassador Haley: You will see us build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they're doing. It will be, as we've worked with the Secretary General in coming up with this report and helping them with the investigation, so that they can further prove what is happening. It will be with the Security Council in that we go ahead and start looking at what else we can do to stop these violations. I think you'll see it among the Department of Defense, State Department, NSC coming up with a United States plan on how we're going to further deal with Iran. So this is going to be multiple steps, but what I can tell you is we're not going to sit back and not watch this. We are going to turn around and not only be aggressive about it, we're going to be forceful about it. And we're going to let the international community know what a threat this actually is.
Question: Exactly which UN resolutions are you claiming have been violated here?
Ambassador Haley: 2231, mainly, is the main one. And that's the one that was coupled with the JCPOA, but what it also said was that if Iran were to use ballistic missile weapons, that would be a violation. Supporting terrorism is a violation. Supporting any sort of exports of arms or related material would be a violation. We've also seen cyberattacks and other things. So all of those violate the agreement. It is not just about the nuclear agreement.
Question: One quick follow up. These weapons, the Saudis, evidently, except for the -- the missiles behind you, weren't able to provide a date or location for where they were recovered. Does that concern you that we're presenting evidence that maybe we can't actually pin to being before or after 2231?
Ambassador Haley: When you see this evidence, it is absolutely indisputable that Iran has been engaging in violations recently, within those last two attacks. They have investigated this for years. But they absolutely know what this is from, where it's from. And this is from our partners as well. This is not just the U.S. This is our partners coming together saying enough is enough, and this is the proof. And now we're going to show it to the international community.
Yes, back in the back.
Question: Yes, [reporter name unclear] from AFP [Agency France-Presse].
Ambassador Haley: Yes.
Question: What proof do you have that this was, indeed, provided to the Houthis directly? Or they could have used a Nord missile and improved it and then?
Ambassador Haley: So first of all, the Iranians are not supposed to be exporting any missiles or any related material. You will look at all of these weapons, and there are markings all over it that show, without a doubt, these are Iranian made; these are Iranian sent; and these were Iranian given. And in violation of the Security Council, they are not supposed to be trading arms, sales, related material, anything at all. And this shows it's in violation. And when you get the tour, you will see exactly how this all comes together, and how it relates.
Last question, yes.
Question: Ambassador Haley, Tara Copp, with Military Times. The coalition that you were talking about to increase pressure, do you mean diplomatic pressure? Are we talking about a military coalition, additional sanctions? What -- What sort of pressure can be added to Iran?
Ambassador Haley: Well, I think what you're seeing is Secretary Mattis and Department of Defense, they have done an amazing job of pulling this together. They're working with their partners to also help us pull together the evidence. And then we're going to work diplomatically to make sure that we let the international community know there are violations. But then we are also going to go so far as to make sure we do something about it. You had your hand up, so I'll -- ask your question.
Question: You mentioned you have more evidence for different -- different support for Iran to different countries -- sorry, different terrorist groups. I would like to know a little bit about what more we know. Do we have more evidence about Iran supporting Hezbollah, for example? Or in Iraq -- some militias in Iraq, also? Thank you.
Ambassador Haley: What we know is there is evidence of Iranian misbehavior in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. And so more will be forthcoming. But this is not just a one-time thing or just a couple of pieces of evidence. You're going to see a rapid flow of other things. Thank y'all very --
Question: I have a quick follow-up --
Ambassador Haley: I need to -- Okay.
Question: Thanks Ambassador. I think one of the reasons we're all asking about next steps is that since the start of the Trump Administration, you've -- you all have been talking about, you know, we're going to have a planned pushback on Iran. And nobody other than Iran really disputed, prior to today, that they were providing weapons to the -- to the Houthis. So I think the question is...if here we are a year into the Administration, and -- and you're not really articulating any specific steps, other than, you know, we're going to kind of rally people and -- and talk about next steps. Doesn't that suggest that perhaps we don't have any concrete options available to us to actually change their behavior on this kind of behavior?
Ambassador Haley: Okay, specific steps:  calling out Iran for what they're doing;  decertifying the process;  having the President say to Congress, we've got to look at this behavior;  working with the Secretary General and their analysts to help them investigate information like this;  the strongest report yet from the Secretary General that there are absolute, undeniable violations that are happening by Iran;  us inviting all of the international delegations to come here;  going to the Security Council and talking with our partners about next steps. There have been a lot of steps. And we're not done yet. So this has actually been an amazingly executed plan on evidence that is just so blatant that we want the international community to see it. And we are getting support on that. And we will continue to do that until these threats stop.
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Original Text Source: State.gov
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