Iran Blames Yemen War on British, U.S. Arms Exports

Iran on Monday rejected Western claims that it was arming Huthi rebels in Yemen, saying the conflict was instead the result of British and U.S. arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, The Nation reports.

The Islamic Republic of Iran wants an end to the aggression in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. What is happening in Yemen is the result of the export of British and American weapons to Saudi Arabia and such behavior is unacceptable,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi in comments carried by Iran’s Al-Alam news site.

A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Yemen almost daily since 2015 as it attempts to dislodge Huthi rebels who seized control of the capital, in a conflict that has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the United Nations. A UN report last month said Tehran had breached an arms embargo by failing to stop weapons reaching the Huthis. It said a missile fired into Saudi Arabia last year by the Huthis was made in Iran, though it was unable to definitively identify the supplier. A UN resolution drafted by Britain called for “additional measures” against Iran over the report.

“This resolution, if adopted, would provide support to the aggressor. Such resolutions do not help the situation in Yemen and are an effort by the British government to use international mechanisms to create a supportive climate for the aggressor,” said Ghasemi, referring to Saudi Arabia.

Russia, which is allied with Iran in the Syria war, maintains that the UN report’s findings are not conclusive enough to justify action against Iran. It presented a rival resolution on Saturday, extending sanctions on Yemen but without any reference to possible action targeting Tehran.

The draft resolution, which was vetoed by Russia on Monday, is to condemn Iran for allegedly providing missiles and drones to the Houthi fighters in Yemen.

“We do not send weapons to Yemen. Such blame games are being played by those who are fanning the flames of war and bloodshed in Yemen. What is happening in Yemen is the result of the U.S.-UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia which unleashed a bloody war on Yemen in March 2015 to restore its former Riyadh-allied government,” Qassemi said.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and more than ten million starved since the onset of the Saudi-led war against the poor country.

Qassemi also commented on the latest developments in Syria, saying the Islamic Republic wants a ceasefire across the country so that humanitarian aid could reach civilians. Stressing the complexity of the Syrian issue, he said many actors have taken part in the issue, emphasizing that the Syrian crisis is “not pleasant” for any of the parties involved.

“We hope the new resolution can bring about a ceasefire in all parts of Syria and that the circumstances improve through political channels,” he said.

He also hoped that calm would return to the Syrian capital and its Eastern Ghouta suburbs which have been the scene of government clashes with foreign-backed militants.