New Findings about Iran’s Arms Aid to Houthis Alarm Gulf Nations

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Dec 1, 2016
New Findings about Iran’s Arms Aid to Houthis Alarm Gulf Nations

It is no longer a secret that Iran assists Shiite Houthi group to fight the Saudi-backed government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in Yemen. But a new report published on November 30 provides new evidence of an arms “pipeline” originating from Iran and extending to Yemen and Somalia.

According to the report by the UK-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), Australian, French and US warships this year have seized sizable quantities of weapons in the Arabian sea with Iranian and Russian markings. “CAR’s analysis of the seized materiel … suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles,” the report explained.

The new findings prompted Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the UN, to call for concerted measures to hold Iran to account. “The UAE calls on the Security Council to take all measures necessary to demand that Iran comply with its obligations,” she added. “These shipments are further evidence of Iran’s expansionist and destabilizing behavior in Yemen, fueling the conflict and endangering Yemeni civilians and Yemen’s neighbors.”

Iranian officials predictably rejected the allegations. Iran’s Ambassador to UN Gholamali Khoshroo called the report’s findings “baseless and unsubstantiated.”

But Khoshroo’s denial rings hollow as it is not the first time that Iranian military assistance to the Houthis makes international headlines. In October, US officials reported on the seizure of five shipments of Iranian weapons destined for Yemen.

Iran’s former ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi last month admitted that Tehran assisted the Yemenis to fight Saudi Arabia. In an interview with conservative Mashregh newspaper, he warned that Iran’s national security would be compromised if Riyadh succeeded in Yemen.

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