Iran Denies Providing Missiles to Shiite Houthis in Yemen

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Iran has dismissed accusations by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that it delivered missiles to Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“The threat potentially posed by the shipment of missiles and other sophisticated weapons into Yemen from Iran extends well beyond Yemen and is not a threat just to Saudi Arabia and… the region,” declared Kerry during a press conference in Saudi Arabia Thursday, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Kerry made similar accusations last year, saying the Obama administration was aware that the Islamic Republic was providing military supplies to the Houthis.

The United States “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized” by Iran, warned the secretary at the time.

Nevertheless, Iran has allegedly continued to assist the Houthis who are fighting against a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition.

The recent accusations levied by Kerry come amid tensions between Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf. A U.S. Navy patrol ship in the Persian Gulf fired warning shots this week in response to apparent aggression by Iran in the region.

While visiting Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Kerry said he was “deeply troubled” over Saudi photographs purportedly showing the missiles being positioned along the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in a statement that Kerry’s comments were “completely baseless,” notes AFP.

Zarif added:

Iran has repeatedly said that Iranian military power will never be a threat to any country and is merely for defense purposes.

The U.S. administration with such remarks is itself becoming a partner in the child killings and war crimes committed by the Saudi regime against the innocent people of Yemen.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Kerry knows better than others that the Saudi government in the past year and half has consistently and seriously blocked all efforts made to establish a ceasefire in Yemen.

The Houthis have fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival.

Saudi-led coalition forces, which have been combating the Houthis since March 2015, have repeatedly been accused of killing civilians.

Citing Yemen’s Houthi-run news agency, The Associated Press (AP) reports: “Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians, including women and children.”

“On Thursday, the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, called for an international investigation into rights abuses and violence in Yemen’s civil war, insisting that a domestic panel set up to look into violations has not been up to the task,” adds AP.

Kerry told reporters that he voiced concerns to the Saudis about civilian casualties in Yemen.

The war in Yemen escalated in March 2015 soon after the Houthi rebels and their allies overran most of the country, forcing the internationally recognized Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

U.S. troops were forced to withdraw from the country as well, but have since resume operations inside Yemen.

AFP notes:

The UN brokered three months of peace talks in Kuwait but they were suspended earlier this month when the government reacted angrily to the rebels’ appointment of a new ruling council in Sanaa.

Kerry announced a fresh peace initiative on Thursday aimed at forming a unity government but hit out at Iran for what he said was its support for the Shiite rebels.


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