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Found 10 results

  1. UNITED NATIONS: United Nations officials have found that missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by Yemen?s Houthi rebels appear to have a ?common origin,? but they are still investigating US and Saudi claims that Iran supplied them, according to a confidential report. The officials travelled to Saudi Arabia to examine the debris of missiles fired on July 22 and Nov. 4, wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the fourth biannual report on the implementation of UN sanctions and restrictions on Iran. They found ?that the missiles had similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin,? said Guterres in the Friday report to the UN Security Council, seen by Reuters on Saturday. The report comes amid calls by the United States for Iran to be held accountable for violating UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen and Iran by supplying weapons to the Houthis. Saudi-led forces, which back the Yemeni government, have fought the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen?s more than two-year-long civil war. Saudi Arabia?s crown prince has described Iran?s supply of rockets to the Houthis as ?direct military aggression? that could be an act of war. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons, saying the US and Saudi allegations are ?baseless and unfounded.? Guterre?s report said the UN officials saw three components, which Saudi authorities said came from the missile fired on Nov. 4. The components ?bore the castings of a logo similar to that of the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group? - a UN-blacklisted company. The officials are ?still analysing the information collected and will report back to the Security Council,? wrote Guterres. NUCLEAR DEAL The Saudi-led coalition used the Nov. 4 missile attack to justify a blockade of Yemen for several weeks, saying it was needed to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. Although the blockade later eased, Yemen?s situation has remained dire. About 8 million people are on the brink of famine, with outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria. A separate report to the Security Council last month by a panel of independent experts monitoring sanctions imposed in Yemen found that four missiles fired this year into Saudi Arabia appear to have been designed and manufactured by Iran. However, the panel said it ?as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier? of the missiles, which were likely shipped to the Houthis in violation of a targeted UN arms embargo imposed on Houthi leaders in April 2015. Most UN sanctions on Iran were lifted in January last year when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under a nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions. US President Donald Trump dealt a blow to the nuclear deal in October by refusing to certify that Tehran was complying with the accord and warning that he might ultimately terminate it. International inspectors have said Iran is in compliance. ?I encourage the United States to maintain its commitments to the plan and to consider the broader implications for the region and beyond before taking any further steps,? Guterres wrote. ?Similarly, I encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to carefully consider the concerns raised by other participants in the plan,? he said.
  2. WASHINGTON: The US military remains confident it can - at least for the moment - protect against any North Korean missile threat, a US official said Wednesday after Pyongyang tested a new rocket type. North Korea earlier launched a previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missile, which it called a Hwasong 15, that was capable of carrying a "super-large heavy warhead" to any target in the continental United States. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said the missile flew higher than any other from North Korea, and warned that Pyongyang could soon threaten "everywhere in the world." The US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that America has not changed its assessment that its various missile defense systems can stop a North Korean missile attack, though the guarantee cannot be ensured indefinitely. "I don't think they could successfully nuke the US at this time," the official said. "There is a general sense we can stop whatever North Korea has right now. For the future, I don´t know." The United States has spent decades and billions of dollars developing technologies to stop an incoming ballistic missile, and Congress is throwing billions of more dollars at the Pentagon to step up its efforts. To protect against an ICBM, the military has the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)system, which is designed to fire an interceptor missile into space and use kinetic energy to destroy the incoming target. America has 44 interceptors in place at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was put to the test in May, when the military successfully launched a GMD interceptor from the California base. Checkered record The missile blasted outside Earth's atmosphere and smashed into a dummy ICBM target, destroying it in a direct collision. But the GMD system has had a checkered record in previous tests - failing in earlier launches against slower-moving targets. The official said the GMD system can shield the entire continental United States and its territories, so it is not yet necessary to install the system on the East Coast. The GMD can stop a small number of missiles from a rogue nation but would be overwhelmed by an all-out strike from a nuclear superpower like Russia. Such a move would likely trigger retaliatory action in what is known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Some questions remain over the North's mastery of the technology required to guarantee any warhead would survive atmospheric re-entry - the key element it has not yet demonstrated. The official said that the angle of re-entry demonstrated in Wednesday's test, in which the missile went very steeply up and down, did not prove that a re-entry vehicle could survive a flight along a lower arc. That is because the heat and friction generated by an angled re-entry into Earth's atmosphere are far greater. The US military and its allies have other missile defense systems available, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system capable of destroying short, medium and intermediate-range missiles in their final phase of flight.
  3. MOSCOW: Russia said Tuesday its submarine deployed in the Mediterranean fired three ballistic missiles to destroy a command post of Daesh group in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province. "A missile strike with three Kalibr missiles destroyed a command post with large numbers of militants and armed vehicles and also a large weapons and ammunition depot," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook. It said the strikes targeted the area around the town of Abu Kamal, one of the few remaining urban strongholds of Daesh in Syria. The ministry added it could confirm "the destruction of all the given targets." It posted a video on Twitter of a missile blasting out of the sea. There have been heavy clashes between the Syrian army and Daesh group in the city of Deir Ezzor, capital of the Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria. Russia said Tuesday that its Veliky Novgorod submarine has carried out four cruise missile strikes on terrorist groups since it was deployed to the Mediterranean in late August. At Russia's Syrian naval base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean, Russian ships have played a prominent role backing up an aerial bombing campaign in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. The submarines are covered from Syria by Moscow's S-300 and S-400 missiles systems and its Bastion coastal defence system.
  4. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani DUBAI: Iran will continue to produce missiles for its defense and does not consider that a violation of international accords, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday in a speech broadcast on state television. Rouhani spoke days after the US House of Representatives voted for new sanctions on Iran?s ballistic missile program, part of an effort to clamp down on Tehran without immediately moving to undermine an international nuclear agreement. ?We have built, are building and will continue to build missiles, and this violates no international agreements,? Rouhani said in a speech in parliament. ?We will produce any weapons of any kind that we need and stockpile it and use it at anytime to defend ourselves,? Rouhani said. The United States has already imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution, which calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and says it has no plans to build nuclear-capable missiles. Rouhani also criticized the United States over President Donald Trump?s refusal earlier this month to formally certify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 accord on Iran?s nuclear program, even though international inspectors say it is. ?You are disregarding past negotiations and agreements approved by the UN Security council and expect others to negotiate with you?? Rouhani said. ?Because of the behavior it has adopted, America should forget any future talks and agreement with other countries,? Rouhani added, referring to unnamed countries in East Asia, an apparent reference to North Korea. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday that he could not imagine the United States ever accepting a nuclear North Korea, and stressed during a week-long trip to Asia that diplomacy was America?s preferred course.
  5. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters File MOSCOW: North Korea?s leadership has told Russian lawmakers that it possesses a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000 kilometres (1864.11 miles) that will be able to reach US territory after modernisation, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday. Interfax cited Anton Morozov, a lawmaker and member of the lower house of parliament?s international affairs committee, who visited Pyongyang from October 2-6. North Korea aims to increase the range of its ballistic missiles to 9,000 kilometres (5592.34 miles), Morozov was quoted as saying. ?There was no talk about the deadline (for solving this task),? he said.
  6. North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un makes a statement regarding US President Donald Trump's speech at the UN general assembly, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, September 22, 2017/KCNA via REUTERS SEOUL: Several North Korean missiles were recently spotted moved from a rocket facility in the capital Pyongyang, South Korea?s Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) reported late Friday amid speculation that the North was preparing to take more provocative actions. The report cited an unnamed intelligence source saying South Korean and US intelligence officials detected missiles being transported away from North Korea?s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the northern part of Pyongyang. The report did not say when or where they had been moved. The missiles could be either intermediate range Hwasong-12 or intercontinental ballistic Hwasong-14 missiles, according to the report, though the missile facility at Sanum-dong has been dedicated to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. A source from South Korea?s defense ministry said he could not confirm details of the report or whether there has been any unusual activities in the area mentioned. South Korean official have voiced concerns that North Korea could conduct more provocative acts near the anniversary of the founding of its communist party on Oct. 10, or possibly when China holds its Communist Party Congress on Oct. 18. Amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and US forces recently held their first joint short range air defense training exercise in South Korea, according to a statement released by the US Pacific Command on Friday. The statement did not give the date of the exercise, but said the next exercise is scheduled to take place over the next few months as the two forces become more familiar with each other?s capabilities.
  7. The US slapped fresh sanctions on Iran Tuesday over its ballistic missile program, just hours after Washington admitted the Islamic Republic was complying with a landmark nuclear deal signed two years ago. Iran's parliament retaliated by voting for extra funding for the missile program, a move that speaker Ali Larijani said would show the Americans that Iran "will resist them with all its power." The heightened tensions came after President Donald Trump was forced to back off from a key campaign promise to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran, which eased sanctions in return for limiting its ability to produce material for atomic weapons. Trump had described it as "the worst deal ever" and accused Iran of continuing to back terrorism in the Middle East. But on Monday the White House admitted that the Islamic Republic was sticking to the nukes agreement. It noted, however, that while Iran might be meeting its requirements on paper, it was ?unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the accord. In announcing the new sanctions against 18 individuals and entities in Iran, the State Department said it "remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity." It cited Iran's support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Huthi rebels in Yemen fighting a US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia. In addition to earmarking an additional $260 million for its ballistic missile program, Iran's parliament also agreed Tuesday to allot a similar amount to the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, accused by Washington of fomenting unrest across the region. The Pentagon has also repeatedly voiced concern over a string of high-profile incidents in waters off Iran involving Iranian vessels. It has accused the Revolutionary Guards of conducting risky maneuvers around US warships in the Gulf, some of which resulted in the Americans firing warning shots. "These sanctions target procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran?s provocative and destabilizing behavior," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Washington is also concerned about the fate of Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old Chinese-American researcher at Princeton University who was recently sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison. Iran pushback While the US complained about Iran's defiance of the spirit of the nuclear accord, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he would make his own complaints about US non-compliance when representatives of the five nuclear powers - China, Russia, France, Britain, the United States - plus Germany meet in Vienna on Friday to take stock of the deal. Zarif accused the Trump administration of failing to lift sanctions in line with the deal. He said he had no communication with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in stark contrast to his predecessor John Kerry, with whom Zarif negotiated the groundbreaking nuclear deal. "It doesn't mean there can't be. The possibilities for engagement... have always been open," said Zarif in New York, where he was attending a UN forum on development. He said he was willing to discuss Wang's case "on humanitarian grounds" but stressed that Iran's courts were independent of the government. Trump and his top security officials have always taken a tough line on Iran: his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, fought Iranian-backed militias during the US occupation of Iraq while serving as a Marine general, and memories are still fresh of Hezbollah's attack on the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon in 1983.
  8. MOSCOW: Two Russian warships and a submarine in the Mediterranean have fired missiles at Daesh targets in Syria, the defence ministry said Friday. It said that Turkish and Israeli military "were informed in a timely manner of the missile launches through communication channels," but it did not mention the United States. Russia has suspended its communication channel with the US on military operations in Syria after a US jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday, with Moscow accusing Washington of failing to issue a warning. The defence ministry said that Russia´s Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich warships and the Krasnodar submarine fired six Kalibr missiles at command centres and weapons stores in Syria´s Hama region. "As a result of the surprise mass missile strike, command points were destroyed and also large stores of weapons and ammunition of the IS terrorists in the area of Aqirbat in the Hama province," it said. The ministry added that Russian planes then carried out aerial strikes that "destroyed the remainder of the Daesh fighters and their facilities." The ministry released video footage of missiles being fired from underwater by the submarine and from the ships as well as aerial footage of the missiles striking two-storey buildings in what appeared to be semi-desert areas. The most recent such strikes from ships and submarines were announced by the ministry on May 31, aimed at targets around Palmyra. The defence ministry said Friday that Daesh fighters have been moving forces into Hama province this week under cover of night and using large buildings there as command points and weapons stores. It said the fighters were trying to move out from Raqqa towards Palmyra.
  9. TEHRAN: Iran has targeted militants in Syria with missiles in retaliation for deadly attacks in Tehran. Late Sunday, the elite Revolutionary Guards launched six missiles from western Iran into Syria´s mostly Daesh held Deir Ezzor province, hitting their command base, the Guards said. The strike was "revenge" for twin attacks in Tehran on June 7 that killed 17 people in the first Daesh claimed attacks inside Iran, a Guards spokesman added. As well as punishing "terrorists", it was intended to show that Iran is capable of projecting military power across the region, officials and experts said. Sunday´s strike was the first known missile attack launched from Iran into foreign territory since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88. "The missile attacks were only a small part of Iran´s punitive power against terrorists and enemies," Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said Monday. "International and regional supporters of the terrorists must realise the warning message of the missile operation." Iran has long accused the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia of backing "terrorists". US President Donald Trump meanwhile accuses Iran of backing terrorism, a charge it denies and has threatened to tear up a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.
  10. People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea firing what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, June 8, 2017. REUTERS North Korea fired what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea's military said, the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure to rein in its weapons program. The launches come less than a week after the United Nations Security Council passed fresh sanctions on the reclusive state, which said it would continue to pursue its nuclear and missile program without delay. It also comes a day after South Korea said it will hold off on installing remaining components of a controversial US anti-missile defence system that has angered North Korea's main ally, China. The missiles were launched Thursday morning from the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan and flew about 200 km (124 miles), South Korea's Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. Under third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been conducting missile tests at an unprecedented pace in an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States. Compared to the different types of ballistic missiles Pyongyang has recently tested, the missiles launched on Thursday are considered to be more defensive in nature, designed to defend against threats such as enemy warships. North Korea unveiled a number of new weapons at a massive military parade on April 15 to mark the birth anniversary of the state's founding leader and has since tested some of them. "Looking at North Korea?s pattern of missile launches, it has been revealing what it brought to the recent military parade," said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University?s Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. "What appeared to be a new type of land-to-ship missile equipped with four launching canisters was unveiled at the parade. I think this might be what was used today." THAAD defence delayed South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been briefed on the latest launch, the military said, declining to give further details. Thursday's launch is the fourth missile test by North Korea since Moon took office on May 10 pledging to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang, saying sanctions and pressure alone have failed to resolve the growing threat from the North's advancing nuclear and missile program. Moon had also promised to review the deployment of the USTerminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. On Wednesday, his presidential office said installation of four additional launchers would be halted until an assessment of the system's impact on the environment was completed. The introduction of the THAAD system, which includes a far-reaching radar that China worries could upset the regional security balance, has sparked protests in South Korea and a backlash in China against South Korean business interests. There was no immediate reaction from China to the latest test. Seoul and Washington were analysing the launches for further information, South Korean officials said. Japan is on high alert and will analyse information in cooperation with the United States and South Korea, Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as saying. Japan's navy and air force conducted military drills with two US aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan last week, following similar joint U.S.-South Korea exercises. "North Korea likely wanted to show off its ability to precisely target a large warship, in relation to the joint military drills involving US aircraft carriers," Roh Jae-cheon, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman told a media briefing. "By testing different types of missiles, North Korea also appears to be aiming to secure the upper hand in relations with South Korea and the United States." In the three earlier launches, North Korea tested different kinds of ballistic missiles, two medium-to-long range missiles as well as a short-range Scud class weapon. The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, says the program is necessary to counter US aggression. US President Donald Trump has been pressing China aggressively to rein in North Korea, warning that all options, including a pre-emptive military strike, are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development.