December 15, 2017 / 3:21 PM / 9 months ago

France cautious over U.S. 'evidence' on Iran weaponry in Yemen

PARIS (Reuters) - France reacted cautiously on Friday to U.S. evidence which allegedly proved Iran supplied weapons to Houthi militia in Yemen, saying it was still studying information at its disposal and the United Nations had yet to draw any conclusions.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of Iranian "Qiam" ballistic missile provided by Pentagon at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The United States on Thursday presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Houthis, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.

The arms included charred remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Nov. 4 at King Khaled International Airport outside Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, as well as a drone and an anti-tank weapon recovered in Yemen by the Saudis.

When asked whether Paris believed that evidence was irrefutable, foreign ministry deputy spokesman Alexandre Giorgini declined to respond directly.

“The United Nations secretariat has not, at this stage, drawn any conclusions. France continues to examine the information at its disposal,” he said.

Tensions between Iran and France have increased in recent weeks after President Emmanuel Macron said Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and clarify its ballistic missile program.

Giorgini said France remained concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile program and urged it to abide fully by U.N. Security Council resolution 2231.

Resolution 2231, which enshrined the landmark nuclear deal with world powers, calls on Iran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs, including launches using such technology. It stops short of explicitly barring such activity.

France’s foreign minister is due in Washington on Monday to in part to discuss Iran and will travel to Tehran at the start of January.

(Corrects spelling of spokesman surname)

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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