- - Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The recent statements made by Brig. Gen. Abu al-Fadl Shikaraji, spokesman for the Iranian military, represented the first official admission of the role of the mullahs’ regime in Iran in managing, supporting and arming the coup that the Houthi militia carried out against the the state of Yemen and its people. This brazen admission casts a clear light on Tehran’s destabilizing role in the security and stability of Yemen and the region.

These statements, published by the Iranian Fars News Agency, confirmed that Iran has provided the Houthi militia with the means to produce missiles, drones, and sending consultants to militia-controlled areas, blatantly violating the principle of national sovereignty. In addition, it was a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2511, directly challenging the will of the international community to end the war and establish peace in Yemen.

Yemen has suffered for decades and is still suffering from Iranian attempts to export the Khomeinist revolution through its support for the Houthi militia. This interventionism started as early as the six Sa’da wars, targeting state authority and undermining its institutions and sovereignty over its entire territory. Military institutions were directly targeted, along with plans to weaken the economy and harm Yemeni interests.

These attempts ultimately aimed to convert Yemeni lands into a platform for targeting neighboring countries, including their energy sources, commercial ships and international shipping lanes, destabilizing the security of the region and the world. For example, in mid-September 2020, the Joint Forces in the West Coast busted a cell for smuggling Iranian weapons, with cell members confessing to receiving training in Iran and to their direct association with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

This is not the first time Iran’s subversive hand has been caught in Yemen. On April 17, 2020, the naval forces of the Arab Coalition thwarted an attempt to smuggle a shipment of hundreds of Iranian weapons aboard a dhow off the coast of the Al-Mahra governorate in eastern Yemen. On June 24, 2020, the coalition naval forces also managed to thwart the smuggling of an Iranian weapons shipment off the coast of Hadramout. 

The Joint Forces of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen announced that the seizure included a vast array of Iranian weaponry and ancillary equipment, including binoculars, devices for guiding drones and weapons-modifiers, all headed directly to the Houthi militia.

On Feb. 19, 2020, the U.S. Central Command announced that the U.S. Navy seized an Iranian weapons shipment that was on its way to the Houthi militia, carrying 150 Iranian anti-tank missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles. On the same day, U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. William Oryan said in a press briefing that cruise missiles and drones were among the weapons seized on the deck of an Iranian ship, identical to those used in the attack on Saudi Aramco facilities in mid-December 2019.

Despite the catastrophic humanitarian conditions that the Yemeni people are going through as a result of the war triggered by the Houthis, Tehran did not provide any financial or humanitarian assistance to Yemen. Instead, it continued to thwart the efforts of the United Nations and friendly countries to solve the crisis peacefully. It did so through increased weapons smuggling, whether they’re ballistic missiles, drones or EIDs.

We in the Republic of Yemen value the friendly stances of the United States of America in supporting the Yemeni people and the legitimate government’s efforts to restore security and combat terrorism. We also thank the American administration for withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and for placing economic sanctions that have had a positive impact in confronting Iran’s policies of sabotage and interference in the region. This shows that our American allies share our common mission of eliminating terrorist organizations and sectarian militias whether they’re in Yemen, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon.

We also call for designating the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, freezing its assets and preventing its leaders from traveling abroad. Their crimes must be put to a decisive end, as their actions against the people of Yemen, tantamount to war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Including planting land mines, recruiting child soldiers, indoctrination of youth with a culture of hostility and hatred for the other, their actions have turned Yemen into a ticking time-bomb that has the potential to inflict damage far beyond Yemeni borders.

The time has come for the saboteurs to be identified unequivocally in order to bring about enduring peace to Yemen in a decisive and sustainable manner.

• Moammar Al-Eryani is Yemen’s Minister of Information.

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