Experts doubt Haley’s evidence of Iran violations will spur action

Behnam Ben Taleblu
15th December 2017 - Quoted by Stephen Loiaconi - Sinclair Broadcast Group

The Trump administration offered evidence Thursday that it says proves Iran is providing weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, but experts are skeptical that the presentation will result in a stiffer international response to Tehran’s alleged arms proliferation.

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Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said U.S. officials under President Obama and President Trump have been suggesting for a while that the Houthis were obtaining weapons from Iran.
“The broad-brush significance is there is now evidence being put to the charge that select U.S. officials…have been making that Iran is arming the Houthis with missiles,” he said.

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Taleblu dismissed the uncertainty about when the missiles were made or transferred, noting that any sale or transfer of arms from Iran before 2015 still should have been intercepted and arguably may have violated the resolutions in place at the time.

“Focusing on pre- or post-2015 is overly legalistic and not strategic,” he said.

Iran has both the motive and the ability to arm the Houthis, and doing so would be consistent with the regime’s past behavior.

“What we are sure about is Iran’s intention, which is to bleed the Saudis in Yemen,” Taleblu said.

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Taleblu lamented the politicized pushback Haley has gotten. He welcomes a serious debate about the evidence she presented and Iran’s capabilities and intentions, but the Powell comparison distracts from that.
“It’s unproductive for the debate to be marred by the Colin Powell speech,” he said.

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“I think Iran definitely knows there’s a new sheriff in town,” Taleblu said, but he added the Iranians are now trying to use that change in power to sow doubt between the U.S. and its allies.

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“Because he decertified it in October, I would say it’s likely he will decertify it again,” Taleblu said. That would send the issue back to Congress.

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