Yemen's Houthis 'benefit' from Iran, Iraq, Oman relations, rebel official admits
The rebels are benefiting from relations with these countries amid ongoing "aggression", Abdul-Malik Alejri, a member of the Houthi political council said, referring to the conflict with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies.
"We do not deny that the authority of Sanaa and Ansar Allah has relations and contacts with Iran, Oman, Iraq and other Arab and Islamic countries," Alejri said on Twitter.
These relations are "natural, which we should not be ashamed of, based on our vision of establishing positive relations between Yemen and the surrounding Arab and Islamic countries, especially the neighbouring countries, except those who refuse", he added.
"We are taking advantage of this relationship to push aggression against our country," he said, referring to the military operations of Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling the rebels in Yemen since 2015.
Yemen's internationally-recognised government has long accused the Houthis of receiving support from Saudi Arabia's regional arch enemy Iran, designed to destabilise the region and country.
Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United States have also accused Iran of providing weapons as well as military expertise to assist the rebels in developing missiles that have for years rained on the neighbouring kingdom.
Iran has long-insisted on denying claims it is supporting the rebels in Yemen with weapons.
Earlier this month, an Iranian-Iraqi businessman was blacklisted and received US sanctions over his alleged involvement to illegally generate revenue and smuggle weapons abroad, as part of efforts by Iran’s elite Quds Force, the US Treasury Department said.
Amir Dianat was accused of allegedly helping the Quds Force smuggle weapons for years, including sending missiles and shipments from the Islamic Republic to Yemen, where Iran's Houthi rebel allies are engaged in a deadly conflict against the Saudi-backed government, the department claimed.
Just weeks earlier, the US military said Iran continued to deliver weapons to Yemen's Houthis following a second interception in less than three months of what Washington claimed were Iranian arms destined for the Tehran-backed rebels.
The United States assessed "with high confidence" that the weapons "were being illicitly smuggled to the Houthis in Yemen in contravention of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions", said Captain Bill Urban of US Central Command, which is responsible for US forces in the Middle East, during a briefing at the Pentagon on the latest interdiction.
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More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015.
The war has caused millions to suffer food shortages in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.