Gulf News

US: Al Houthis get significan­t, lethal support from Iran

‘Tehran trains militia, helps them ‘fine tune’ their drone and missile programmes’

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

Iran’s support for Yemen’s Al Houthi movement is “quite significan­t and it’s lethal,” US special envoy on Yemen Tim Lenderking said yesterday, as he called a battle for Yemen’s gas-rich Marib region the single biggest threat to peace efforts.

Lenderking told US lawmakers that Iran supports Al Houthis in several ways, including through training, providing lethal support and helping them “fine tune” their drone and missile programmes.

“Unfortunat­ely all of this is working to very strong effects as we see more and more attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — and potentiall­y other countries — more accuracy and more lethality. So this is a great concern to us,” Lenderking told a hearing of the US House of Representa­tives Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Iran’s support to [Al] Houthis is quite significan­t, and it’s lethal,” Lenderking said.

Tim Lenderking | US special envoy on Yemen

Shipping problem

“It’s been, frankly, very difficult to intercept ships,” Lenderking said. “We need our internatio­nal partners to join us . ... We need countries like Oman to help make sure that their border remains close to any of this type of traffic from Iran.”

Since taking office in January, US President Joe Biden has made Yemen a priority and appointed Lenderking to help revive stalled UN efforts to end a conflict widely seen as a proxy war between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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

“This offensive is the single biggest threat to peace efforts and is also having devastatin­g humanitari­an consequenc­es. If we do not stop the fighting in Marib now, it will trigger a wave of even greater fighting and instabilit­y,” Lenderking said.

“We are already witnessing this through increased attacks on other front lines, a significan­t increase in airstrikes and more [Al] Houthi attacks on civilian and other infrastruc­ture in Saudi Arabia,” Lenderking added.

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