U.S. Says Iran Support to Yemen's Houthis 'Significant, Lethal'

U.S. special envoy on Yemen told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that it has been difficult to halt ships bearing weapons from Iran to Houthis in Yemen, and that the U.S. needs more international assistance in doing so

Reuters
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Houthi supporters at a rally in Yemen, last month.
Houthi supporters at a rally in Yemen, last month.Credit: Hani Mohammed,AP
Reuters

Iran's support for Yemen's Houthi movement is "quite significant and it's lethal" and there is no real evidence that Tehran wants to support a constructive resolution to the conflict, U.S. special envoy on Yemen Tim Lenderking told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.

"We would welcome Iran playing a constructive role, if they are willing to do so," Lenderking said. "We have not seen any indication of that."

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Lenderking also said that it has been difficult to halt ships bearing weapons from Iran to Houthis in Yemen, and that the U.S. needs more international assistance in doing so.

He also described the increase in Houthi cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia is a "very disturbing trend."

The six-year-old conflict, seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has caused what the United Nations says is the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

The Houthis, who ousted Yemen's internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, and now hold most of north Yemen, have kept up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia after Riyadh presented a new peace initiative.

Last week, Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group used drones and missiles to attack targets in the southern Saudi city of Jazan, including one belonging to state oil giant Aramco which caused a fire.

Last month the Saudi-led coalition destroyed two explosive-laden boats that the Houthis planned to use in an "imminent" attack launched from the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, according to Saudi state media. 

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