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Iran slams Saudi Arabia's 'crimes' in Yemen

Iran's permanent mission to the UN rejected the Saudi letter [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2016

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Iran has responded to a Saudi Arabia's accusations that Tehran is smuggling weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen by accusing the kingdom of killing civilians.

Iran has strongly rebuked Saudi Arabia's decision to send a letter to the UN claiming that Tehran is smuggling weapons to Yemeni rebels.

Iran dismissed the "unsubstantiated claims", Tasnim state news agency reported, and rejected the claims.

Saudi Arabia urged the UN Security Council to pressure its regional rival to stop "smuggling weapons to Houthi rebels" it is fighting in Yemen.

"This letter includes unsubstantiated claims that have not been verified by any independent entity," the Iranian response read.

"These claims are raised against the numerous confirmed reports, documenting Saudi Arabia's war crimes and violation of international law and international humanitarian law."

'Crimes'

The statement described Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen as "non-proportionate and irrational", criticising its "crimes" against women and children and the damage done to the country's civilian infrastructure.

"It is surprising that Saudi Arabia would complain to the United Nations about the use of weapons in Yemen even while Saudi Arabia itself has purchased tens of billions in arms that it is using against the Yemeni people," the statement added.

In its letter to the UN Security Council, Riyadh listed "violations" allegedly committed by Houthis - whom it believes are funded and backed by Iran - including several cross-border attacks that have left dozens of Saudi civilians dead in recent months.

"On August 31, Houthi rebel militias and their supporters fired a ballistic missile of the type 'ZilZal-3' ["Earthquake-3"] at the city of Najran, in the south of Saudi Arabia. Rocket 'ZilZal-3' is a short range ballistic missile produced in Iran," the letter said.

[Click to enlarge]

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United Nations, who wrote the letter, said weapons used by the rebels in Yemen violate UN resolution 2216 and generate a threat to Yemen, the kingdom and the region as a whole.

"We further urge the Security Council to take all necessary measures to demand that Iran complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions, cease and desist from any illegal actions in Yemen," Mouallimi added.

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition battling Houthis in Yemen, in an attempt to push back the rebels back from cities they overran in September 2014.

The kingdom is also attempting to reinstate the internationally-recognised government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi - a key ally of neighbouring royals.

According to UN figures, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the start of the coalition's bombing campaign.

The war's exacerbation of Yemen's dire humanitarian situation has drawn mass condemnation from rights groups and international bodies, who have accused both sides in Yemen's conflict of war crimes.

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