Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

Iran Denies Supporting Houthi Rebels Amid Global Trade Disruptions

Wednesday, 01/17/2024

Iran's foreign minister has rejected accusations of supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen, responsible for disrupting global trade through attacks on commercial vessels.

In an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian claimed that people from Yemen and other regional countries defending the Palestinians are acting independently in spite of Iran having backed the group militarily and financially for years.

“The people of Yemen and other countries in the region who defend the Palestinian people are acting according to their own experience and through their own interests, and they are not receiving any orders or instructions from us,” he said, though the order to blockade Israel came publicly and directly from Iran's Supreme Leader.

It followed Israel's relentless retaliatory attacks on Gaza in response to the October 7 massacres in which 1,200 mostly civilians were murdered by Iran-backed Hamas and over 250 more taken hostage.

The Houthi militia initiated dozens of drone and missile attacks on Israeli territory and shipping in the Red Sea since November. On Monday, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile at a US-owned commercial vessel, as reported by the US Central Command. The Red Sea accounts for 12% of global shipping.

In the ongoing conflict, Iran supports Hamas in its confrontation with Israel and continues to supply weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah which has targeted Israel's north in support of Hamas. Responding to the Houthi attacks, the US and its allies have initiated strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

Amir-Abdollahian also cautioned the US against “tying their destiny” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fate, asserting that Washington's full support for Israel is a root cause of insecurity in the region.

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