NEW YORK, February 7. /TASS/. The Iranian authorities do not arm Yemen’s Houthi rebel movement Ansar Allah, Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told NBC.
The envoy added that the Houthis "have their own weapons," and Iran is not instructing the rebels on how to use them. The diplomat pointed out that his country’s relations with the Middle East armed formations, which Tehran calls the Axis of Resistance, are a defensive pact, and added that the country does not steer them in any direction, but does "some coordination, cooperation, consultation and maybe some financing also."
The Iranian envoy also said that his country was ready to call on the Houthis to cease fire, if Israel withdraws its troops from the Gaza Strip and lifts restrictions on sending humanitarian aid to the residents of the enclave.
The Axis of Resistance is made up of Muslim, mostly Shiite, armed formations. These include Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, Iran’s Islamic Resistance in Iraq, Palestinian Hamas movement, as well as the Zainebiyoun Brigade (consisting of Shia Pakistanis) and the Fatemiyoun Brigade (consisting of Shia Afghanis).
With the conflict in the Gaza Strip escalating, the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement announced that it would conduct strikes on Israeli territory and block pro-Israeli vessels from passing through the waters of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until Tel Aviv ceases its military operation in the Palestinian enclave. The Houthis have attacked dozens of civilian vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since mid-November of last year.
On the night of January 12, US and UK forces launched strikes using aircraft, ships and submarines against Yemeni rebel movement targets in a number of cities, including Sanaa and Hodeidah. US President Joe Biden said that the strike was carried out in response to unprecedented attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea and was defensive. The targets included missile sites, UAVs and the Houthis’ radar stations.
On February 3, American and British forces struck 36 Houthi-affiliated targets. On February 4, US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported conducting yet another series of strikes on Yemen, with the targets of the attacks being five cruise missiles launched by the Houthis.