TEHRAN – Iran has rejected accusations that it is imperiling the security of the Middle East, saying regional insecurity and terrorism originates from Saudi Arabia’s radicalism and extremism.
“The root cause of terrorism in the region is radical thoughts nurtured in Saudi Arabia which have today become the scourge of people in the region and in the world in the form of different terrorist-takfiri groups,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement carried on the official website of the ministry on Tuesday.
General Ahmed Hassan Mohammad Asseri, an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister as well as spokesman of the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Yemen, claimed in an article published by Fox News that Iran is sharing ballistic missile technology with the extremist Houthi militia in Yemen and similar groups in other countries, thereby imperiling the security of the entire region.
Earlier in February, Iran vehemently dismissed claims it was supplying weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, the militia group fighting the Saudi-backed government, saying the group’s missile technology traces back to the Soviet Union era.
Ironically the Saudi general said his country “stand shoulder-to-shoulder for a secure and stable Middle East in a peaceful and prosperous world.”
This is while the Saudi invasion of Yemen has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country.
The coalition backs the pro-Saudi resigned Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and justifies its attacks on Yemen by claiming that Houthi forces are “supporting terrorism.”
Marking two years since the beginning of the U.S.-backed and Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets of the capital of Sanaa to protest the brutality of the bombing camping.
An average of 100 civilians a month are dying in Yemen’s war, now on for three years, most killed by the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes and shelling, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.
In a statement marking the second anniversary on Sunday, it said it had confirmed 4,773 civilians killed and 8,272 injured in the conflict.
Stephen O’Brien, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs underscored that in addition to wrecking the country’s economy, killing thousands and displacing millions, the fighting has brought Yemen to the brink of a famine.
“During my third visit to Yemen only weeks ago, I saw the terrible and terrifying evidence of looming famine,” said O’Brien.
Nearly 19 million Yemenis – over two-thirds of the population – need humanitarian assistance and, according to UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), seven million are facing starvation.
As with most crises, it is the children who are bearing the brunt of the suffering.
According to UN verified data, in the past year alone, the number of children killed increased from 900 to more than 1,500; those injured nearly doubled from 1,300 to 2,450; children recruited in fighting neared 1,580 (compared to 850 last year); and 212 schools were attacked (up from 50 last year).