Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for “urgent humanitarian assistance” to Yemen following four weeks of Saudi air strikes against Houthi rebels, the BBC reported.
“Positive developments in Yemen should be followed by urgent humanitarian assistance, intra-Yemeni dialogue and a broad-based govt. Ready to help,” Zarif tweeted after Saudi Arabia announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm.
Iran has denied Saudi and Western allegations that it has been supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has been wracked by civil war that led to the flight of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to Saudi Arabia last month.
Saudi defense officials said that while efforts would be made to find a political solution to the crisis, force would still be used if it proved necessary.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, said Tuesday that a new phase entitled “Operation Restoring Hope” would begin in order to stop Houthi rebels from “targeting civilians or changing realities on the ground,” according to the BBC.
Yemeni president Hadi, who is living in exile in Riyadh, thanked the Saudis for supporting him. “I express the deepest gratitude and respect to our Arab and Muslim brothers and friends in this exceptional strategic alliance in my name and on behalf of the Yemeni people,” he said.
American officials were also pleased with the Saudis’ decision to end the attacks and urged that the crisis be resolved through talks.
“We continue to support the resumption of a UN-facilitated political process and the facilitation of humanitarian assistance,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said.
The US has sent the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier, and the USS Normandy, a guided-missile cruiser, to the area. Pentagon officials said that while the ships were tasked with ensuring freedom of navigation in the area, they were also going to keep an eye on a group of Iranian cargo vessels that appeared to be sailing toward Yemen.
US President Barack Obama warned Iran on Tuesday against sending weapons to Yemen.
“What we’ve said to them is that, If there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem,” he said.
“And we’re not sending them obscure messages. We send them very direct messages about it.”
According to the World Health Organization, 944 people were reported killed in Yemen and 3,487 wounded in the four weeks up to Friday.