US calls on Iran to stop weapons transfers to Yemen's Houthis

Iran-backed rebel group has launched more than 50 attacks on maritime targets, capturing one ship and sinking another

A Houthi rebel stands on board a ship seized by the group, near Hodeidah, Yemen. AP
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The US urged the international community on Monday to take collective action against Iran for its “destabilising” role in Yemen, highlighting the need for Tehran to halt weapons transfers to the Houthi rebels.

“If the council wants to return to a more hopeful outlook for Yemen, we must collectively call Iran out and insist that it cannot hide behind the Houthis,” US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told the UN Security Council.

He said there is extensive evidence that Iran is providing advanced weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles, to the Houthis in breach of UN sanctions.

“To underscore the council’s concern regarding the ongoing violations of the arms embargo, we must do more to strengthen enforcement and deter sanctions violators,” Mr Wood said.

He called on Iran to cease the “enablement” of the Houthis, as Red Sea attacks have hindered efforts to reach peace in Yemen.

“It is abundantly clear that the Houthis and their attacks in the Red Sea and increasingly now in the Indian Ocean are jeopardising the potential benefits of a political resolution between the Yemeni parties,” said Mr Wood.

Last week, the Houthis claimed responsibility for two missile attacks in the Gulf of Aden. The attacks on two Panama-flagged container ships caused no damage. A further strike was also carried out in the Indian Ocean.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on maritime targets, capturing one ship and sinking another, according to the US Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has been heavily affected due to the threat.

The Houthis have stated that assaults on shipping through the waterway will continue for as long as the Israel-Gaza war.

Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said that Israel's May 6 announcement of a military operation in Rafah where 1.2 million Palestinians sought refuge, escalated tensions in the region “another notch further”.

“Knowing the fundamental position of the Houthis condemning Israel's actions against Palestinian civilians, there's no doubt that this will have an impact on the situation in Yemen's surrounding waters,” he said.

The war began when Hamas and allied militant groups attacked southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing about 1,200 people. Retaliatory air strikes and a ground campaign have killed more than 35,000 in Gaza to date, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry.

Updated: May 14, 2024, 6:11 PM