Despite the ongoing restrictions and setbacks, Iran will keep up its efforts to transfer humanitarian aid to Yemen, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says, denouncing continuation of the Saudi-led war and siege against the impoverished country as “unacceptable.”
Zarif made the remarks on Tuesday during a video-call with Hisham Sharaf Abdullah, his counterpart from the Yemeni National Salvation Government.
Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement formed the government together with its allies in 2016 to undertake administration of the country’s internal affairs.
The allies were forced to come together after Yemen’s former Riyadh-allied government fled the country amid a political deadlock, refusing to stay behind and negotiate power.
The new government was also tasked with dealing with a relentless war of aggression and simultaneous siege that Saudi Arabia and some other countries brought against Yemen with the United States’ support to try and reinstate the Riyadh-allied former officials.
The invasion has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the country close to the brink of all-out famine.
“Despite [existing] restrictions and obstructions, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue taking the necessary measures to transfer humanitarian aid [to Yemen] to [help it] confront the coronavirus’ spread,” Zarif said.
“Continuation of the invasion and oppressive blockade of Yemen by the [Saudi-led] coalition, and impounding of the ships that carry foodstuffs and fuel to the country amid the coronavirus’ epidemic is unacceptable,” he added.
The Iranian top diplomat reasserted the Islamic Republic’s stance of considering the political solution to be the only way out of Yemen’s crisis, saying Tehran has been cooperating constructively with the concerned Yemeni and international parties with the aim of restoring peace in the violence-stricken country.
In the same context, Zarif said the only way to return stability to the country was to ensure respect for Yemen’s territorial integrity as well as unity and broad-based political dialog among various Yemeni parties groups towards formation of an inclusive government “because Yemen belongs to all Yemeni groups.”
The Yemeni official, for his part, expressed gratitude towards the Islamic Republic for its political and humanitarian support for the country amid the invasion and blockade.
He also provided Zarif with a report on the latest political and field developments concerning Yemen and an outlook of the crisis.
GCC’s Iran claims
Also on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi addressed earlier claims by Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, secretary-general of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who had tried to implicate the Islamic Republic in the Houthis’ retaliations against Saudi Arabia.
Pointing to a Monday counterstrike by the Houthis, Al Hajraf had claimed that Tehran “supplies arms and ammunition” to the movement. The official had also pledged full support on the part of the GCC for Saudi Arabia, disregarding Riyadh’s incessant bloodshed of the Yemenis.
Mousavi advised the Council to try to stop the Saudi-led coalition’s attacks on Yemeni women and children instead of playing the blame game and coming up with “baseless” claims about others.
The spokesman further denounced Riyadh and the former Yemeni government for its “duplicitous” attitude towards an initiative led by the United Nations that is aimed at ending the war. He said the coalition claims to be observing a ceasefire in Yemen, while keeping up its “wanton bombings” and still trying to resolve the crisis through military means.