February 2, 2021
United Nations experts are warning of a “growing body of evidence” that Iran is sending weapons to Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, in a report that warns of a deteriorating situation in the country with “devastating consequence” for the civilian population.
The report by a U.N. panel of experts to the Security Council, a copy of which was obtained by Fox News, says “there is a growing body of evidence that shows that individuals or entities within the Islamic Republic of Iran are engaged in sending weapons and weapons components to the Houthis” in violation of U.N. resolutions.
The evidence includes anti-tank guided missiles, sniper rifles and RPB launchers all with markings consistent with those made in Iran.
The Trump administration had warned of moves by Iran to destabilize the Middle East by arms sales, and attempted to reimpose a broader arms embargo, as well as other sanctions that were expiring as part of the 2015 Iran deal — but faced pushback from allies and others at the U.N. that scuppered the effort.
The Biden administration has taken a different approach from the Trump administration on both Iran — where it has indicated it wishes to return to the Iran deal and re-engage with Tehran — and also on the conflict in Yemen between the government and the Houthi rebels, who control the north of the country.Video
Trump-era Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had imposed sanctions on the Houthis in the final days of the administration, designating them a “foreign terrorist organization” (FTO). That move was part of the administration’s efforts to isolate Iran.
However, since taking office, the Biden administration has suspended some of the sanctions attached to that designation until Feb. 26 — although it hasn’t yet reversed the designation. The U.N. report warned that the designation of the Houthis as an FTO could harm aid and food deliveries into the country, hurting the peace process and exacerbating malnutrition.
The six-year civil war has resulted in the deaths of more than 112,000 people and has obliterated the country’s infrastructure. U.N. estimates say 13.5 million Yemenis face food insecurity.
The U.N. report paints a continually grim picture: “The situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.”
It accuses all parties involved of “continuous and widespread human rights and international law violations with impunity; and escalations in fighting and its impact on civilians, including displacements.”
The report finds that the Houthis continue to attack civilian targets in Saudi Arabia, using missiles and other weapons, while the government is “engaging in money-laundering and corruption practices that adversely affect access to adequate food supplies for Yemenis, in violation of the right to food.”
The report accuses the government of diverting $423 million of public money to traders — the Central Bank of Yemen denied the claims.
“All parties continue to commit egregious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians, enforced disappearances and torture,” the report says.