Nikki Haley’s ‘Jongler’ at The Cirque du Pentagon; Not First of Its Kind
On December 14th Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, organized a display of some alleged missile debris, calling them "concrete evidence" of Iran's weapons proliferation and called on the international community to join a united front in resisting this “global threat”.
Did she do so in the United Nations? Well, not exactly. In fact, while the alleged “evidence” has been previously submitted to the UN and is said to be under examination, the US envoy to the UN preferred to set the scene elsewhere, at a military base in Washington, for the press and public.
It’s not the first time that the United States resorts to such shows. Years ago, in October 1987 and April 1988, several warships of the US Navy attacked and destroyed three offshore oil production complexes, owned and operated solely for commercial purposes by the National Iranian Oil Company. As a result of such attacks, production from those platforms was interrupted for several years. Later on, in 1992, Iran filed an application instituting proceedings in the International Court of Justice against the United States with respect to the destruction of the oil platforms. In response, the US made the most bizarre argument and claimed that its navy had only acted in “self-defense”.
The United States relied on the some alleged incidents involving American vessels in the period up to 19 October 1987, and attributed them to Iran. It claimed that Iran had attacked a US vessel (Sea Isle City) using a Silkworm missile, and also some other US vessels were damaged by mines allegedly laid by Iran in international waterways. And the US representatives, organized a show, similar to Nikki Haley’s, for the judges of the Court, presenting them with such so-called “evidences”.
In that case, after thorough examination of all the “evidence” presented by the US, the Court concluded that “at the end of the day the evidence available is insufficient to establish that the missile was fired by Iran” and therefore “the necessary burden of proof has not been discharged by the United States." Similarly, on the issue of alleged damages caused to the American vessels by mines, the Court came to conclusion that “mines were being laid at the time by both belligerents in the Iran-Iraq war, so that evidence of other minelaying operations by Iran is not conclusive as to responsibility of Iran for this particular mine”. The court described some of the evidence as “highly suggestive, but not conclusive”. Therefore, “in view of all the circumstances, including the inconclusiveness of the evidence of Iran's responsibility for the mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, the Court was unable to hold that the attacks on the Salman and Nasr platforms had been justifiably made in response to an "armed attack" on the United States by Iran, in the form of the mining of the USS vessels.”
Moral of the story: fake and fabricated evidence is of no use when presented to a court. Instead, Haley and her masters believe they can fool general public with such evidence. This was the reason behind the show. But there is one very important point they need to be reminded of: the age of “hit-and-run” in the Persian Gulf is long over. They may rest assured that Iran will make them pay a huge price for any stupid ‘hit’.
*Behzad Saberi has a PhD degree in international law from the Department of Law and Political sciences at the University of Tehran. As a diplomat, he currently serves in the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna.