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Iran shows Russian defence minister missiles it denies supplying to Yemen

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is shown a ‘351 land-attack cruise missile' at Iran's IRGC Aerospace Force museum in Tehran. (Russian Ministry of Defence)

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that missiles previously only displayed by Yemen's Houthi rebels are Iranian, when it released photographs of Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu inspecting them during a visit to Tehran on 20 September. The missiles were also seen in footage broadcast by the Sputnik news agency.

The weapons included the cruise missile that Ansar Allah calls the Quds, which Shoigu was shown at the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force's museum in Tehran. The missile has not previously been seen in Iran despite extensive local media coverage of the museum.

Referred to as the ‘351 land-attack cruise missile' by the US military, the Quds has been used to attack targets in Saudi Arabia several times as well as Abu Dhabi on 17 January 2022.

Shoigu was also shown a type of loitering surface-to-air missile (SAM) the US military calls the ‘358 SAM' and the Houthis have displayed as the Saqr-1.

Both missile types have been found in shipments of weapons that have been intercepted by Western naval forces before they could reach Yemen, most recently when the UK Royal Navy (RN) searched a skiff heading from Iran towards Oman on 28 January 2022.

Tehran has repeatedly denied supplying weapons to the Houthis without credibly refuting the extensive evidence to the contrary. For example, it denied any connection to the skiffs the RN intercepted in January and February 2022 without explaining why a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) found alongside ballistic missile components on the second vessel had co-ordinates for Tehran in its memory.

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