Iran condemns Saudi-led attack on Yemen as “genocide”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham on Sunday condemned Saudi-led attack on Yemen as “genocide”, according to Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s website.
“Such actions by the Saudi-led coalition have been genocide and go counter to the international conventions,” Afkham was quoted as saying.
In their attack on Yemen of more than 40 days, they have used “unconventional weapons intended to increase the number of the casualties,” she said.
She urged the active role of the United Nations to stop the raids on Yemen and immediate dispatch of humanitarian aid to the vulnerable people.
Iran’s decision to send relief aid to Yemen has been coordinated with related international bodies, she said, adding that it is expected the aid will be received by the Yemeni people without any problem.
Iran will send its humanitarian aid to war-stricken Yemen later on Sunday evening.
A ship carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid including food and medicine is due to arrive at the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on the Red Sea, according to previous reports.
Onboard the ship, there will be 15 medical staff, 13 media representatives, seven anti-war activists from the United States, France and Germany plus the crew members, the report said.
The ship, coded Rescue Ship, will leave the Iranian southern port city of Bandar Abbas to Hodeida through the Sea of Oman, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Coordination has been made with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Authority of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Djibouti.
Iran has warned Saudi-led coalition against intercepting the ship.
“We will continue to send humanitarian aid to Yemen and never allow the country’s siege,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said last week.
“Regional security along with Iran’s is intertwined with Yemen’s security,” he said.
Last month, fighter jets of the Saudi-led coalition intercepted an Iranian plane over the Yemeni sky and destroyed the runway of Sanaa airport to prevent it from landing. Iran said the plane was carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen.
Earlier reports said that the U.S. warships had also intercepted the Iranian ships near Yemen’s waters last month.
Saudi Arabia has long been accusing Iran of arming and financing Houthi fighters, an accusation strongly rejected by Tehran.
Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition on Houthi rebels in Yemen have been going on since late March. More than 1,000 people have been killed and 3,000 injured in the airstrikes and in fierce fighting between the Shiite Houthi group and tribal militia loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Earlier in the day, Yemen’s Shiite Houthi group and the army welcomed a Saudi proposal for a five-day cease-fire to allow aids to be delivered to the country.
“We welcome the five-day humanitarian truce announced by the Saudi foreign minister that will start on Tuesday,” Houthi spokesman Hussein al-Ezzy said in a brief statement early Sunday, without providing further details.
In a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the cease-fire would begin on Tuesday night and the implementation was contingent on cooperation by the Houthis.
However, the Saudi-led coalition forces continued its air strikes overnight on Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the northern Saada province, the stronghold of the Houthi group.
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Saudis are making a “very big strategic mistake” by bombing Yemen.
Saudi Arabia is pouring bombs on the impoverished Yemeni people instead of helping the developing country, which is “unfair,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Press TV.