As War Rages, Iran Says 'Military Approach in Yemen Will Fail'

Rohani says 'crisis in Yemen should be resolved through political channels' in phone call with Qatar Emir

Iranian President Hassan Rohani at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, China June 10, 2018.
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Iranian President Hassan Rohani told Qatar's ruler on Monday that a military approach in Yemen would fail, Iranian state TV reported, after Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombarded Iran-aligned Houthi fighters holed up at the airport of the country's main port city Hodeidah. 

"The crisis in Yemen should be resolved through political channels ... a military approach will fail ... Yemen's stability and security is important for the Middle East," state TV reported Rohani telling Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in a phone call. 

Shiite Muslim Iran is involved in a proxy war with Sunni Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Houthi forces in Yemen's conflict and Lebanon's Hezbollah. 

Saudi Arabia is leading a Sunni Arab coalition fighting the Houthis in the impoverished state on the tip of the Arabian peninsula. 

Iran rejects accusations from Saudi Arabia that it is giving financial and military support to the Houthis in the struggle for Yemen, blaming the deepening crisis on Riyadh. 

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (far left) and Iran's President Hassan Rohani (second right) in a meeting of the OIC in Istanbul, Turkey May 18, 2018.
\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS

There are fears that a prolonged battle for the city, where the Houthis are dug in to protect critical supply lines from the Red Sea to their bastion in the capital Sanaa, could aggravate what is already the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis. 

"We regard as incorrect the adventurous policies of certain regional countries and believe that the continuation of this process will undoubtedly intensify the existing regional crisis," Rohani said. 

Iranian TV reported that Qatar's ruler said "all regional conflicts can be solved only through dialogue and no country can impose its stance on others."