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    A soldier walks at Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen May 10, 2017

    Facts, Fiction and Weapons: Iran’s Real Role in Middle Eastern Conflicts

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    Middle East
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    Despite the constant stream of rumors about Iran allegedly supplying weapons to conflict-ridden Arab states and meddling in the affairs of its neighbors, it appears that Tehran plays a different role in Middle Eastern affairs.

    Tehran is frequently accused by certain parties of meddling in the affairs of its neighbors, supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East and, last but not least, of secretly supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

    However, it seems that these stories about Iranian vessels allegedly ferrying deadly cargo across the Gulf of Oman to the Houthi forces in Yemen may be just that – unfounded stories disseminated by Iran’s rivals.

    Hassan Aminian, former Iranian ambassador to Yemen and senior adviser to the Iranian Minister of Culture, told Sputnik Persian that all reports about Tehran sending weapons to Yemen are simply untrue. He further explained that Iran only sends humanitarian aid to the country – namely food and medical supplies, and has to do it via air because the Yemeni border is blockaded by Saudi forces and US Navy warships.

    "There’s plenty of small arms in Yemen, many of them purchased a long time ago, including ones bought from the Soviet Union, so there’s no need for the Yemenis to obtain weapons from Iran," Aminian said.

    Kamran Karami, Iranian political analyst and Middle Eastern affairs expert, also added that there would be no way for Iran to supply arms to Yemen even if it wanted to, as all possible routes are blocked by either US and Saudi forces or al-Qaeda.

    "The US and Saudi Arabia spread these rumors in an attempt to diminish Iran’s influence in the region. Iran regards the Yemeni crisis as a regional conflict. Iran’s plan for Yemen involves efforts in four directions: the cessation of hostilities, a ceasefire agreement, support for the process of creating a national government and medical shipments for the people of Yemen. Iran seeks to help foster stability in Yemen. Iran wants Saudi Arabia to stop attacking Yemen because these attacks help foment instability," he said.

    The analyst also explained that rumors about Iran allegedly supplying weapons to Yemen are completely unfounded, not to mention the fact that Tehran doesn’t have the means to transport arms to the war-torn country.

    "You’ll understand everything if you take a look at the map.  On one side there’s al-Qaeda, on the other (Bab-el-Mandeb) there’s the fleets of Saudi Arabia and its allies. So all these talks about Iran allegedly supplying weapons to Yemen via land and sea routes have nothing to do with reality," Karami surmised.

    Meanwhile, Hussein Royvaran, a Middle Eastern affairs expert from the University of Tehran, also confirmed that Iran has never sent any weapon shipments to Yemen.

    "The Iranian authorities have repeatedly stated that they won’t interfere in the internal affairs of this Arab country no matter what. It is foolish to assume that any vessel flying the flag of Iran and carrying arms is heading to Yemeni Houthis," Royvaran remarked.


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    conflict, humanitarian aid, accusations, weapons, arms shipments, Houthis, al-Qaeda, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran
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