US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said on Friday that there is no need to escalate to military options in his country’s confrontation with Iran, according to AFP. His statement comes following a revelation made Thursday by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who showed evidence that Iran is providing missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Mattis confirmed on Friday to Pentagon reporters that there is no need to use a military option, explaining further that the evidence was presented to raise the international community’s awareness of Iran’s activities. “It’s the reason Ambassador Haley was there and not one of our generals,” he said. Mattis has repeatedly asserted on several occasions that he favours sticking to diplomacy with Iran. He has opposed Trump’s plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
On the other hand, Haley, a former Republican member of South Carolina House of Representatives, has been strongly advocating for ending the deal at the UN Security Council. On Thursday, she presented fragments of a missile at Bolling Air Force base in Washington, headquarters of the Defence Intelligence Agency, claiming that the missile was the one that targeted Riyadh’s airport on 4 November and is Iranian-made. She asserted that this is “concrete” proof that Iran is providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with missiles.
She alleged that the reason behind showing the evidence was not to rally support against the Iran nuclear deal, but to enlighten the international community on Iran’s breach of Security Council Resolution 2231 which prohibits providing the Houthi rebels with ballistic missiles.
In response to Haley’s announcement, an Iranian spokesoerson at the UN, Alireza Miryousefi, denied the claim calling it “fake evidence”, according to the Guardian.