Iran's Rouhani: Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen a 'mistake'Tehran: Iran's president today warned Saudi Arabia and its allies that their airstrikes' campaign in Yemen is a “mistake” and called for a halt to the strikes targeting the Iran-backed Shiite rebels who have seized
Tehran: Iran's president today warned Saudi Arabia and its allies that their airstrikes' campaign in Yemen is a “mistake” and called for a halt to the strikes targeting the Iran-backed Shiite rebels who have seized much of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
For two weeks now, the Saudi-led coalition has failed to stop the power grab by the Houthi rebels, whose advance has forced President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. Both Tehran and the rebels deny that Iran is arming them.
The airstrikes against the Houthis and their allies, including loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have also failed to stop the rebels' advance on Aden, Yemen's second-largest city, which was declared a provisional capital by Hadi before he fled to Saudi Arabia.
In his speech in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged for a ceasefire in Yemen to allow for broad-based talks on resolving the crisis.
“To the countries in the region, I say, let's adopt the spirit of brotherhood, let's respect each other and other nations. A nation does not give in through bombing,” said Rouhani. “Do not kill innocent children. Let's think about an end to the war, about ceasefire and humanitarian assistance to the suffering people of Yemen.”
He said a campaign of airstrikes and bombardment is “wrong,” citing examples of Syria and Iraq, where a U.S.-led coalition is targeting Islamic State militants. “You will learn, not later but soon, that you are making a mistake in Yemen, too,” Rouhani said, without naming any particular country.
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks Thursday in Islamabad with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in an effort to push for Yemen peace talks. Zarif, who arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday, has said that Iran is ready to facilitate peace talks that would lead to a broad-based government in Yemen. “We need to work together in order to put an end to the crisis in Yemen,” Zarif said.
“We need to find a political solution in Yemen, a comprehensive political solution leading an inclusive government through Yemeni dialogue.” Zarif's visit comes as Pakistan's parliament is debating whether to contribute forces to the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen.
Meanwhile, humanitarian groups say they are running out of supplies and have called for a temporary halt to the fighting to allow aid into Yemen. The World Health Organization said yesterday that at least 643 civilians and combatants have been killed in the fighting since March 19.