United States Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking on Wednesday accused Iran of providing “significant and lethal” support to the Shi’ite Houthi movement, which has been battling a Saudi-led coalition of states for control of Yemen for six years. In a hearing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Lenderking said Tehran continues to provide training, advanced weapons and assistance to the violent group’s growing drone and missile programs.
Iran is “aiding and abetting an army of Houthis … so that they can continue attacking Saudi Arabia,” attacks that have “risen quite strongly in the last couple of months,” he said. Fighting in the Yemeni civil war has intensified in recent days as the Houthis look to take Marib, a crucial gas-rich region east of Sana, in what the US envoy called “the single biggest threat to peace efforts” which will have “devastating humanitarian consequences.”
Upon taking office, President Joe Biden reversed his predecessor’s decision to label the Houthis a terror group, after humanitarian organizations warned that Trump’s move would exacerbate the Yemeni famine. The White House also ended military aid to the Saudi coalition, but promised to continue defending the kingdom from Houthi attacks.