Timothy Lenderking, the US envoy for Yemen, spoke at the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. During this event, Lenderking responded to the US lawmakers’ questions. Lenderking stated that the support that Iran provides for the Houthi group in Yemen is “quite significant and lethal.”
The US envoy expressed that Iranian support includes training Houthi forces, providing arms, and technical assistance for “fine-tune” for drones and missile programs. He also highlighted that the biggest threat to peace efforts in Yemen is the ongoing Houthi offensive towards Yemen’s gas-rich Marib region, which is the last stronghold of the internationally recognized government.
“Unfortunately, all of this is working to very strong effects as we see more and more attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and potentially other countries – more accuracy and more lethality. So, this is a great concern to us,” Lenderking said on the hearing.
The US envoy also highlighted the significance of the Iranian role in resolving the crisis in Yemen. He told: “We would welcome Iran playing a constructive role if they are willing to do so. We have not seen any indication of that.”
Lenderking also touched upon the Houthi offensives towards Saudi soil, which have intensified in recent times. On this matter, he said that Iranian support to the Houthis encouraged them to continue their attacks against Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, Iran has frequently rejected claims regarding Tehran supporting the Houthis. Speaking over Lenderking’s statements, the spokesperson of Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York denied the US envoy’s expressions and labeled them as baseless claims against Iran. The spokesperson said, “Iran has called for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Yemen.” He also accused the US of providing weapons that have been using to kill civilians in Yemen, referring to the US’ support to the Saudi-led coalition.
In February, US President Joe Biden announced that the US’ support for the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen, including arms sales, has stopped.