Iran dismisses US claims Tehran involved in Houthi ship attacks

Iran dismisses US claims Tehran involved in Houthi ship attacks
Iran's deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri said Yemen's Houthi rebels have their 'own tools' and act in accordance with their 'own decisions and capabilities'.
2 min read
23 December, 2023
Yemen's Houthi rebels have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea over Israel's war on Gaza [Satellite image (c) 2023 Maxar Technologies (via Getty Images)]

Iran's deputy foreign minister on Saturday dismissed US accusations that Tehran was involved in attacks by Yemeni rebels on commercial ships, saying the group was acting on its own.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have launched more than 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting 10 merchant vessels in the Red Sea, according to the Pentagon, over Israel's war on Gaza.

On Friday, the White House publicly released US intelligence that Iran provided drones, missiles, and tactical intelligence to the Houthis, who control vast parts of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa.

"The resistance [Houthis] has its own tools… and acts in accordance with its own decisions and capabilities," Iran's deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri told the Mehr news agency.

"The fact that certain powers, such as the Americans and the Israelis, suffer strikes from the resistance movement… should in no way call into question the reality of the strength of the resistance in the region."

The Gaza Strip has endured 11 weeks of Israeli air and ground attacks that have killed more than 20,000 people.

An attack by Hamas and other Palestinian militants on 7 October killed around 1,140 people in Israel. It also saw about 250 people taken as hostages, 129 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.

Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the 7 October attack on Israel but denied any involvement.

The Islamic republic has repeatedly warned of a widening conflict, and last month, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the intensity of the war has rendered its expansion "inevitable".

President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran sees it as "its duty to support the resistance groups" but insisted that they "are independent in their opinion, decision and action".

Last month, Tehran dismissed as "invalid" Israel's accusations that Houthi rebels were acting on Tehran's "guidance" when they seized a Red Sea ship owned by an Israeli businessman.