Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Yemen sees increasing evidence that Iran is arming Shiite Muslim rebels who seized territory on the 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) border with Saudi Arabia, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said.
“There is mounting evidence but we are dealing with it very responsibly,” al-Qirbi said in an interview in Berlin today after meeting with German government officials. He declined to say what measures Yemen or its allies might take in response.
Yemen, a U.S. ally, has steered clear of directly accusing Iran’s government of providing weapons to the insurgents. The Yemeni authorities recently began investigating the matter after boarding an Iranian ship in Yemeni waters, he said. While no arms were found on board, they may already have been unloaded, al-Qirbi said.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, began air attacks on the Yemeni rebels earlier this month and fighting is continuing. Iran’s top general denounced the air strikes on Nov. 18 as the start of “state terrorism” that might have consequences for the entire Middle East. Shiite-led Iran is the main regional rival of Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are ferrying weapons from Asab port in Eritrea across the Red Sea to Yemen, Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based intelligence-consulting group, reported Nov. 16, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.Shipping Route
The Iranians buy weapons in Somalia and Eritrea and then load them onto ships at Asab, Stratfor said. They are now taking a longer route that skirts around the tip of the Arabian Peninsula in the Gulf of Aden since Saudi Arabia this month mounted a naval blockade along the coast of Yemen opposite Eritrea, it said. Read more