Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSC), reportedly said on Wednesday that Iran is ready to hold talks on the civil war in Yemen with Saudi Arabia without preconditions.
Shamkhani made the announcement during the Muslim holy month Ramadan, during which millions of Muslims make the Hajj pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“We are ready to start constructive and rational dialogue with the Saudis without any preconditions,” Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera, according to Iran’s state-run Mehr News agency.
Shamkhani reportedly made comments about the situation in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi forces have fired Iranian missiles into Saudi Arabia. Shamkhani said of the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen, “Ansarallah movement agreed with the European plan for a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan, but Riyadh opposed the plan.”
On Tuesday, the United States Treasury Department issued a fresh set of sanctions against Iran, targeting five Iranians who are linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is accused of providing ballistic missile support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“The United States will not tolerate Iranian support for Huthi rebels who are attacking our close partner, Saudi Arabia. All countries in the region should be on guard to prevent Iran from sending its personnel, weapons, and funds in support of its proxies in Yemen,” Mnuchin said.
During the same interview with Al-Jazeera on Wednesday, Shamkhani reiterated Iran’s commitment to supporting its proxies in the Middle East and groups that have been sanctioned as terrorist organizations by the western world.
“Washington does not dare to attack Iran and the policy of sanctions is a failed policy,” Shamkhani said. He added, “Our missile program is non-negotiable and we will continue to develop our defense capabilities. We will continue to support Hamas, Islamic Jihad Movement and the Resistance Axis as a whole.”