Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has reiterated his calls for a blockade of Israel while Tehran separately denies its role in the Gaza war.
“It is the duty of the governments to cut off political, propaganda and arms aid and not to send consumer goods to the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said on Thursday.
Back in November, Khamenei urged Muslim states to cease oil, food and goods exports to Israel to force Israel into a ceasefire amid its war on Gaza sparked by the October 7 Hamas attacks. At least 1,200 mostly civilians were killed and at least 250 more taken hostage in the single most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust.
Iran's Yemeni proxy, the Houthis, have taken over the critical Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait trade route, launching dozens of attacks on vessels since November and forcing shipping to take longer, more expensive alternative routes.
It has since led to multiple retaliatory joint attacks by the US and UK in a bid to harm the Houthis' infrastructure. The Houthis claim they only target Israeli and Israel-bound ships, but its victims have been multinational. The Galaxy Leader, taken captive in November, has 25 crew taken hostage, hailing from the likes of Bulgaria and Romania.
Though Iran has avoided any direct military involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the regime has used its proxy groups such as the Houthis and Hezbollah to attack Israeli and American targets in the region.