Iran joins Houthis in dismissing Saudi Yemen ceasefire proposal

Iran joins Houthis in dismissing Saudi Arabia's Yemen ceasefire proposal
2 min read
23 March, 2021
Saudi Arabia is hoping for a ceasefire with the Houthis following a spate of attacks on the kingdom.
Semi-official Tasnim news agency carried a statement by Iran's foreign ministry [Getty]
Iran appears to have dismissed Saudi Arabia's ceasefire proposal to Yemen's Tehran-backed Houthi rebels, state media reported on Tuesday.

Semi-official Tasnim news agency carried a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry marking the start of the "seventh year" of the Saudi-led coalition's "continued aggression" in Yemen.

The statement described the intervention - widely seen as the beginning of a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran - as a "terrible crime" against the "innocent people of Yemen".

"During the past six years of siege and military aggression, 24 million Yemenis have been impacted and every day dozens of people die due to bombardment, starvation, illness and a lack of medicine and fuel," the statement said.

It also highlighted Yemen's Covid-19 crisis, while decrying arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.

The statement did not name the ceasefire offer but appeared to indirectly attack it - bringing into question the current Saudi-led blockade on the country and arms sales to Riyadh.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has maintained from the beginning of this conflict that Yemen's crisis has no military solution," it said.

"Iran supports any peace plan founded on ending the aggression, a comprehensive ceasefire, ending the occupation, lifting the economic blockade, launching of political negotiations and finally, leaving the matter - without foreign interference - to Yemeni hands who are responsible for planning their future".

Read also: Saudi Arabia offers ceasefire plan to Yemen's Houthi rebels

On Monday, a Houthi spokesman dismissed Riyadh's offer as "nothing new" and insisted that the air and sea blockade must be totally lifted.

The ceasefire initiative was announced as a Houthi assault byon the city of Marib - in Yemen's south - rages. The Iran-backed rebels have also stepped cross-border drone and missile attacks targeting Saudi oil sites.

Riyadh is trying to rehabilitate its image with the US under President Joe Biden after international criticism of Saudi airstrikes on civilian areas and its embargo which has exacerbated hunger inside Yemen - a country already on the brink of famine.

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