President Rouhani calls for an end to Yemen conflict | News | DW | 18.04.2015
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President Rouhani calls for an end to Yemen conflict

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has harshly criticized the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen. He has also emphasized that the Iranian military should not be seen as a threat in the Middle East.

During a military parade taking place in Tehran on Saturday, the Iranian president criticized the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, saying that killing civilians in Yemen would bring neither power nor pride to Saudi Arabia.

"What does bombing the innocent Yemeni people mean? What goals are you pursuing? Will killing children bring power to you?" Rouhani said. "Don't bomb children, elderly men and women in Yemen."

His speech and the army ceremony were broadcast live on Iranian state TV.

Since March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has been attacking Yemen's Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to the country's ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Tehran has said it supports the rebels, but denies supplying them with arms.

According to UN estimates, some 7.5 million people in Yemen require humanitarian assistance as fighting among Houthis, al Qaeda militants and loyalists to elected President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Saudi Arabia, grows more intense. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have affected 18 of Yemen's 22 governorates, UN officials have said.

Iran 'ensuring security' in the Middle East

Rouhani also said that his military should not be seen as a threat in the Middle East. The presence of Iranian navy ships "in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden is intended to ensure the security of neighboring countries and maritime traffic."

On Friday, Iran submitted a a four-point plan to the United Nations to end the conflict in Yemen. The plan includes humanitarian aid, dialogue and the creation of a broad Yemeni unity government.

Rouhani has also accused Saudi Arabia of providing weapons and also funding to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in a 'quagmire'

Prominent lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads the parliamentary national security and foreign policy committees, predicted that Saudi Arabia would find itself trapped in the Yemeni a difficult situation.

"We are so sorry that today Saudi Arabia and [its allies] have placed themselves in a quagmire and leaving it will definitely not be an easy task," Boroujerdi told reporters Saturday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced that it had offered Yemen $274 million (253 million Euros) in humanitarian aid.

According to the Saudi Arabian news agency, SPA, the aid was ordered by King Salman and followed an appeal from the UN to support the people of Yemen.

ra/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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