John Kerry: U.S. ‘will not stand by’ as Tehran backs Houthi rebels

WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) — Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran over its alleged support of Houthi rebels in Yemen and said the United States “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized.”

More than a week after negotiating a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, Kerry, in an interview with “PBS NewsHour,” said Tehran was “obviously” supplying materials to the rebels. Iran has repeatedly denied accusations it is providing support to the Houthis.

“We’re well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen. And Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized, or while people engage in overt warfare across the lines, international boundaries and other countries,” he said.

As a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition is seeking to drive back the rebels and restore power to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denounced the coalition airstrikes as genocide. He said Saudia Arabia would not win the battle against the Iran-allied Houthis.

“The aggression by Saudi Arabia against Yemen and its innocent people was a mistake,” Khamenei said in a speech on Iranian TV. “This is a crime and genocide that can be prosecuted in the international courts.”

Tuesday night, the U.S. military began its first military intervention in support of the Arab coalition, with aerial refueling tanker flights for a Saudi-owned F-15 Eagle and an F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. will fly one daily tanker mission but will not cross into Yemeni airspace.


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