'Gifts of death': war-torn Yemen, Iran clash at UN summit

'Gifts of death': war-torn Yemen, Iran clash at UN summit
Iran says it provides political support to the Houthis, but denies helping them militarily.
2 min read
Iran has been accused of providing arms to Houthi forces controlling northern Yemen [Getty images]

A Yemeni official accused Iran of sending "gifts of death" to his war-wracked country as the two sides clashed publicly at a UN summit for poor nations on Monday.

Othman Majali harangued Iran, which backs Yemen's Houthi rebels, during his speech at the Least Developed Countries meeting in Qatar, drawing a terse response from Iranian Vice-President Mohsen Mansouri.

The Houthis took control of Yemen's capital in 2014, prompting an intervention by Saudi-led forces the following year that has triggered one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Yemen is living in "exceptional situations whose reasons are not a scarcity of resources... (rather) the coup and the war waged by the terrorist Houthi militia against the Yemeni people, the militias that were trained and funded by the Iranian regime", Majali, a member of Yemen's presidential council, told the anti-poverty summit.

Majali also condemned "terrorist and racist movements created by Iran in the Arab countries to spread chaos and control the region" and "Iran's continued sabotage practices in Yemen".

When it was Mansouri's turn to address the summit, the Yemeni delegation got up and walked out of the conference hall.

The Iranian vice-president hit back at Majali's comments, calling them "unreal, baseless, and irresponsible statements".

"His attempt to divert the focus from the agenda of the meeting is regrettable," Mansouri told the conference.

"For the dear people of Yemen, I sincerely wish for peace and tranquillity, progress, and exit from crises caused by foreign interference and aggression."

Iran says it provides political support to the Houthis, who adhere to an obscure branch of Shia Islam, but denies helping them militarily.

Last week Britain's navy said it intercepted a small boat carrying Iranian weapons on a known smuggling route to Yemen, although Tehran dismissed the statement as "fake news".

 

 
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