United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley went to a military base in Washington Thursday and used the charred remnants of an Iranian ballistic missile as a backdrop to call for international action against Tehran's "malign influence" in the Mideast.
In a news conference at a Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling hangar, Haley stopped short of recommending that the U.S. pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran worked out by the Obama administration, but said that the missile and other weapons displayed showed that the Iranian regime posed a "threat to the peace and security of the entire world."
Haley thanked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for providing the dramatic setting for the briefing at which she called Iran the chief "arsonist" responsible for "fanning the flames of conflict" in the region.
In addition to the missile, stamped with the logo of Iran's Shahid Bagheri Industries, Haley said that DoD had warehoused, at Anacostia-Bolling, Iranian anti-tank missiles and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that she called a "kamikaze drone."
She also referred to a "Shark 33" naval drone rigged with an outboard motor that she said could blow a "six-foot wide hole" in a ship.
At the Pentagon, spokesperson Laura Seal said that a Shark 33 was used in an attack on the Saudi Arabian frigate HMS al Madinah last January that killed two and wounded three.
Haley's news conference was in line with President Donald Trump's new strategy announced in October "to address the totality of Iranian threats and malign activities" from ballistic missile development to "support to terrorism and unconventional warfare," Seal said.
"Part of the president's strategy is to clearly show how Iran continues to defy the international community by violating United Nations resolutions," Seal said.
Haley and Seal said that the weapons systems on display were mostly provided to DoD by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as evidence of attacks against them.
Haley said "We do not often declassify this type of military equipment recovered from these attacks, but today we are taking the extraordinary step of presenting it here in an open setting."
"We did this for a single urgent purpose -- because the Iranian regime cannot be allowed to engage in its lawless behavior any longer. International peace and security depends on us working together against the Iranian regime's hostile actions," she said.
Haley echoed Mattis' long-held position that the nuclear deal with Iran, in which sanctions were lifted in return for Iran's halt to its nuclear programs, should not be allowed to divert attention from Iran's other threats to U.S. national security interests.
"These are the things they're doing while we're looking the other way," Haley said. She singled out Iran's support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthi rebels in Yemen and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"The nuclear deal has done nothing to moderate the regime's conduct in other areas," Haley said. "It's hard to find a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran's fingerprints all over it."
Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina and an increasingly leading voice on foreign policy in the Trump administration, said that the Qiam missile behind her was fired by Houthis on Nov 4 at King Khaled International Airport outside Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh.
"Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles [International Airport outside Washington, D.C.] or JFK [Kennedy International Airport in New York]," Haley said. "When you look at this missile, this is terrifying, this is absolutely terrifying."
In October, Trump "decertified" the nuclear deal with Iran, meaning that he had concluded that Iran was not living up to all terms of the agreement. However, he did not withdraw the U.S. from the deal.
Based on the evidence displayed, Haley said that "You will see us build a coalition to really push back against Iran and what they're doing."
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.