Iran’s foreign minister has categorically denied the US claims that Tehran ships arms to Yemen, saying Washington itself knows better which international parties spread terrorism throughout the world.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was reacting to comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry who accusedTehran on Thursday of transferring “missiles and other sophisticated weapons” to “rebels” in Yemen.
“By such statements, the US administration has implicated itself in the Saudi regime’s war crimes and inhumane and infanticidal atrocities against the innocent and oppressed Yemeni people. It should undoubtedly accept responsibility and be answerable for all the inhuman crimes,” Zarif said.
Kerry made the accusations during a visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than year.
The top US diplomat was in Jeddah where UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as well as representatives from Britain and Saudi Arabia's Persian Gulf allies in the war had gathered to discuss the conflict.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with (clockwise) Saudi FM Adel al-Jubair, Britain’s Foreign Office junior minister Tobias Ellwood, Emirati FM Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh, in Jeddah, August 25, 2016.
"Mr. Kerry knows well better than anyone that the Saudi government has, over the past year and a half, been invariably and sternly frustrating all the efforts taken to bring about ceasefire in Yemen,” Zarif said.
In his remarks, Kerry said "the threat potentially posed by the shipment of missiles and other sophisticated weapons into Yemen from Iran extends well beyond Yemen and is not a threat just to Saudi Arabia and... the region."
“It is a threat to the United States and it cannot continue,” he added.
Zarif also dismissed Kerry's claims of Iranian threat to the region and the US, saying the Islamic Republic's “military might poses no threat to any country and simply serves defensive purposes.”
“What threatens the region and the world today is the ideological, financial and political bases of Takfiri terrorism in the world, whose source and causes Mr. Kerry should know well.”
The Saudi military has been pounding Yemen since March 2015 to undermine Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
Nearly 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Riyadh’s military aggression which lacks any international mandate.
The US maintains strong military ties with Riyadh, which had Washington approve a USD-1.29-billion rearming program for the kingdom last November.
“Without a doubt, the US administration would further discredit its policies in the region through its support and ignorance and inattention to the facts on the ground,” said Zarif.
“It is high time the US administration learned from its glaring past mistakes in Syria and Iraq and open its eyes to realities,” he added.
On Thursday, the UN human rights office said the Saudi military is using cluster bombs against residential areas in Yemen in violation of international law, blaming the Riyadh regime for most of the civilian casualties in its impoverished southern neighbor.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the United States in May for selling cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom had used various types of US-made cluster munitions in its war against Yemen despite evidence of mounting civilian casualties.