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If not political maneuver, Biden’s stance on Yemen can be step towards correcting past mistakes: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iran says a newly declared US stance on the Yemen war can be a "step towards correcting past mistakes" provided that it is not a mere political maneuver, reiterating its support for any effort that will end support for aggressive powers.

“Ending the support for and stopping the sale of arms to the Saudi coalition, if not a political maneuver, could be a step towards rectifying past mistakes," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

This per se would not solve the problem in Yemen, the official said, underlying the need for the lifting of the country’s air, sea, and land blockade, which has led to the deaths of thousands of Yemenis due to food and medicine shortages.

“Military strikes on Yemen by Saudi-led aggressive countries should also be halted,” he said.

In a speech during his first visit to the State Department on Thursday, President Joe Biden said the US was ending its support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, but added that Washington will continue to help Riyadh defend its sovereignty and territory.

In a reversal of former President Donald Trump administration’s foreign policy, Biden added, "This war has to end. To underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatibzadeh said the international community and certain countries that are complicit in Riyadh’s crimes against the Yemeni people need to put an end to their logistical and military hardware support for Saudi Arabia and prevent the persistence of the humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

“Unfortunately, the Saudis made themselves more vulnerable by waging the war in Yemen,” he regretted, adding that by “leveling false accusations against other countries in line with the US’ maximum pressure [policy], it (Saudi Arabia) is trying to exonerate itself of [conducting] military aggression in Yemen and killing thousands of Yemeni children and women,” the Iranian spokesperson added.

He, however, expressed hope that the “warmongering countries would come to realize their strategic mistake” in attacking Yemen and would “acknowledge their mistake over the past six years and adopt a peaceful solution toward ending the Yemen war and siege.”

“Iran welcomes any effort by the international community to support Yemen and end the backing for the aggressors,” he said.

He also stressed that Iran still viewed its four-point initiative as a viable plan to end the conflict in the Arab country.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif submitted a plan to the then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in April 2015, which was an early attempt by Iran to end the bloodshed in the impoverished country.

The plan, which was presented in four provisions, included the cessation of all foreign military attacks in Yemen, swift transference of humanitarian aids, resumption of national-Yemeni talks, and formation of a comprehensive unity government.

Saudi Arabia, accompanied by its allies, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been leading a war against Yemen since March 2015 with the aim of bringing the former pro-Riyadh government back to power.

The military aggression has also been accompanied by an all-out siege of the impoverished country. It has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The director-general of the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) said earlier this month that the Saudi-led coalition has dropped 3,179 cluster bombs on Yemen since the beginning of its aggression against the defenseless Yemeni people.

Ali Sofra said the civilian casualties of the bombardments, mostly women and children, have exceeded 1,000, and most of them were in agricultural and grazing areas.

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