The United States’ withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal has had an immediate impact on the Yemen war rescinding, according to Yemeni officials.
When US-Iran nuclear talks erupted during former President Barack Obama’s administration, Iran “stepped up its military and financial support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen”, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, ambassador of Yemen to the US and permanent representative to the United Nations, said.
“Nevertheless, the clear-eyed President Trump’s Iran strategy, along with withdrawing from the Iran deal and demanding that Iran cease its destabilising behaviour in the region, has made clear to Iran and its proxies in Yemen that meddling in the region will not be overlooked again,” Mubarak said. He added that “strong and positive signals” are emanating from the Iranian-aligned Houthis over engagement with the Yemen peace process.
“So withdrawing from the Iran deal will definitely contribute to the end of the war in Yemen,” Mubarak continued.
The Yemen war began in September 2014, but escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition was requested to execute an air strike campaign against the Houthis by the internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthis control northern Saada governorate and continue to control the capital Sanaa three years on.
The Houthi group has executed lethal ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia and used rockets to threaten commercial ships travelling across the Red Sea. The Saudi-led coalition and the US continue to accuse Iran of supplying arms to the Houthi group, though Tehran denies any support.
Commenting on Iranian support for the Houthis, Abd Rabboh Moftah, deputy governor of Marib city, said: “There is still some support, but we have seen it drop since the US pulled out” of the nuclear deal. “Any way that support from Iran is lessened, is helpful in stopping the war. The Houthis were feeding on this deal, and legitimacy.”
The officials’ comments come following a UN panel of experts briefing submitted to the Security Council early this month, putting forward the idea that Iran may be in a position to “play a constructive role in finding a peaceful solution for Yemen”. The suggestion came after the UN panel reviewed ten pieces of debris from missiles in Saudi Arabia which they said had signs that they were Iranian made.
Three years on, the Yemen civil war continues with over 15,000 Yemenis killed by all sides of the conflict, according to the United Nations.