January 18, 2022
Iran’s foreign ministry commented on what it described as “recent Yemen-linked developments” by saying military attacks were not the solution, a day after Yemen’s Houthi militia launched a drone attack on the UAE which killed three people.
“Military attacks are not the solution to the crisis in Yemen and such actions will increase tensions in the region,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in response to a question described by Iran’s official state news agency IRNA as “recent Yemen-linked developments.”
He added: “Iran has always emphasized that the solution to any of the regional crises is not resorting to war and violence, and only in a calm atmosphere and away from the continuation of tensions and cycles of violence can there be peace and stability in the region.”
Khatibzadeh did not refer directly to the Houthi attack on the UAE.
The UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi was rocked on Monday when drone attacks led to a fire breaking out and resulted in the explosion of three petroleum tankers, killing three people and wounding six others. There was also another fire that broke out in the area of the new construction site of Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility for the attack saying it conducted an operation “deep in the UAE”.
Iran has long supplied the Houthis with financial and military support. However, it is not yet clear if Iran sanctioned the attack, or if it was completely a Houthi singular decision.
Daniel Byman, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy told Al Arabiya: “Iran often pretends that it is not working closely with the Houthis. Tehran probably seeks to avoid complicating relations with the UAE while ensuring its local proxies can operate effectively.”
On the other hand, Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East North Africa program at Chatham House, told Al Arabiya English: “These events will no doubt strain relations across the Gulf but can also reveal the limited influence Iran has in curtailing Houthi attacks.”