US vows to ‘spare no effort’ to combat Iranian threat in Yemen

Brian Hook says Washington will restore stability and security in Yemen

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 16, 2018 the State Department's director of policy planning and head of the Iran Action Group, Brian Hook, speaks about the "Iran Action Group" during a press briefing at the State department in Washington, DC. US leaders remain ready to negotiate with their Iranian counterparts but Tehran is still refusing President Donald Trump's overture to do so, a senior US official said September 19, 2018. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "have all made clear that we are ready to negotiate and to have those discussions," Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, told the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank."There hasn't been any aversion to meeting with the Iranians," he added.
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The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, on Wednesday said Washington would spare no effort to battle the Iranian threat in Yemen.

Yemen has been devastated by a years-long civil war between the internationally recognised government led by Abdrabu Mansur Hadi and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

“The US will work closely with the Yemeni government to eliminate all threats posed by Tehran’s terrorist regime in the region,” Mr Hook told Ahmed bin Mubarak, Yemen’s ambassador to the US, on Wednesday.

The two discussed crucial concerns on “Iran’s support to the Houthis and its inimical influence against reaching peace in Yemen”, Yemen’s embassy in Washington said on social media.

“We will spare no effort to get rid of this threat and to restore security and stability in Yemen and its surroundings,” Mr Hook said.

Arab states blame Iran for trying to destabilise the region.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen after the Houthis overran the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The Iranian-backed rebels’ "true intentions have become clear" to officials in Washington, Mr Hook said.

He said the US would not allow anyone to “tamper with international interests in the region that threaten the security of international navigation, especially in the Bab Al Mandeb strait.”

Mr Mubarak said Yemen’s government would not allow weapons to remain in the hands of militias operate outside the state’s control.

“Yemen will not be used as a platform to unleash the evils of Iran and to spread hatred and animosity between citizens and to target neighbouring countries,” he said.

The rebels regularly fire missiles into southern Saudi Arabia and occasionally aim at its capital or assets of Saudi Aramco, the state oil company.

Most of the missiles are intercepted by the Saudi military.

"There is no place for armed groups in Yemen," Mr Mubarak said.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said Washington was seeking to cut off the flow of Iranian funds to the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

The US estimated that Hezbollah “earns almost $1 billion annually through direct financial support from Iran, international businesses and investments, donor networks, corruption and money laundering”.

Members of the group are fighting alongside the Houthi rebels.