Y. Mansharof and E. Kharrazi/Iran’s Support For The Houthi Rebellion In Yemen: Without Iran There Would Be No War In Syria And Ansar Allah Would Have Never Emerged


Iran’s Support For The Houthi Rebellion In Yemen: ‘Without Iran There Would Be No War In Syria And Ansar Allah Would Have Never Emerged’

By: Y. Mansharof and E. Kharrazi*

In the past two months, U.S. administration spokesmen have released statements denying or questioning Iranian intervention in Yemen and Iran’s export of its Islamic Revolution to the country. On March 23, 2015, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said, “[O]bviously, we’re aware of reports of a variety of support that Iran has provided to the Houthis, but have not seen evidence that Iran is exerting command and control over their activities in Yemen.”[1] Earlier, on January 23, 2015, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: “[B]ased on what we know right now, it is not clear that Iran is exerting any sort of command-and-control influence over the Houthi rebels. We are certainly aware of the reports that there are ties between that rebel group and the Iranians, and we are concerned about that.”[2] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate appropriations committee in February, when asked whether the Yemeni government collapsed because of Iran’s support for the Houthis: “I do know that the Iranians were surprised by the events that took place and are hoping to see a national dialogue.”[3]

The following is a review of statements and information released openly by official Iranian spokesmen showing Iran’s complete involvement in numerous aspects of the Houthi rebellion in Yemen: Iran’s export of its Islamic Revolution to Yemen; the connection between the Houthi movement and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Forces; and Iranian military aid and political and economic support to the Houthis, in addition to anti-Saudi and anti-U.S. statements.

Exporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution
Senior Iranian spokesmen pointed at the revolution in Yemen as indicative of the further success of the enterprise of exporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution – an enterprise laid out by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following the revolution.

IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander Qaani: “Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, And Yemen Are Among The Countries Conquered By The Islamic Republic Of Iran”

On February 13, 2015, the Iranian opposition website Kalameh reported that a news item had been published in Iran, but a short time later removed, stating that IRGC Qods Force deputy commander Esmail Qaani had said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is spreading in these lands [i.e. the Islamic countries] from day to day, because the Islamic Revolution is not limited by geographic borders… Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen are among the countries conquered by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”[4]

Iranian Journalist Sadeq Al-Hosseini: We Are The New Sultans Of The Mediterranean, The Gulf, And The Red Sea

Iranian journalist Sadeq Al-Hosseini, who is affiliated with regime circles, said on September 24, 2014 that Iran, as leader of the resistance front which has become the new ruler of the Red Sea, would, together with its partners in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, shape the future of the region: “We in the axis of resistance are the new sultans of the Mediterranean and the Gulf. We in Tehran, Damascus, [Hizbullah’s] southern suburb of Beirut, Baghdad, and Sanaa will shape the map of the region. We are the new sultans of the Red Sea as well.”[5]

Qods Force Senior Official Shirazi: We Have Might In Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, And Even Saudi Arabia

On February 8, 2015, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the IRGC Qods Force, Ali Shirazi, explained that the Houthis constitute part of the pro-Iranian popular army in the region, alongside Hizbullah in Lebanon and Iran’s proxies in Syria and Iraq: “Whether or not our enemies like it, the Islamic Revolution has been advancing since its beginning, and today we have might in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Yemen, and even Saudi Arabia, that we did not have from 1978-1991… In the not-so-distant future, we will see the twilight of America and Israel – this is not a slogan… Today we in Iran, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Ansar Allah [i.e. the Houthi movement] in Yemen, the National Defense Force in Syria, [and] the popular forces in Iraq have become much stronger… The great popular army begins to take shape in the world; be certain that this movement is undefeatable.”[6]

Qods Force Commander Soleimani: The Signs Of The Export Of The Islamic Revolution Can Be Seen Across The Region

In a February 11, 2015 speech in Karman marking Revolution Day in Iran, IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani said: “Today we are seeing the signs of the export of the Islamic Revolution across the region, from Bahrain and Iraq to Syria, Yemen, and North Africa. The arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] and global Zionism acknowledge their helplessness and the growing might of the Islamic Republic, in light of their serial defeats at the hands of the resistance front.”[7]

Majlis National Security Committee Member Kowsari: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, And Yemen Have Taken Our Revolution As A Model

Also on February 11, 2015, Majlis National Security Committee member Esmail Kowsari said: “Today, thank God, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and even several countries in Latin America have taken our [Islamic] revolution [and] our doctrine of self-sacrifice as a model for themselves. As a result, the Americans feel embarrassed.”[8]

Assembly Of Experts Member Khatami: Ansar Allah, Hizbullah, Syria, Iraq, And Iran – A Single Front

On April 2, 2015, Assembly of Experts member and Tehran Friday preacher Ahmad Khatami said: “Ansar Allah [i.e. the Houthi movement] in Yemen, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and Syria, Iraq, and Iran are a single front standing against America… Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America have said that they do not want this front to take over the strategic region of the straits of Bab El-Mandeb and Hormuz.”[9]

Former Iranian Intelligence Minister Moslehi: Tehran Controls Four Capitals

Former Iranian intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi underlined that Iran has taken over four capitals – Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, and Sana’a – and added, “More victories are on the way.”[10]

Iranian Officials: Iran Has Linked To Bab El-Mandeb And It Has Influence From Yemen To Lebanon

On March 9, 2015, Iranian National Security Committee chairman Ali Shamkhani said: “Iran has linked to Bab El-Mandeb and to the Mediterranean.”[11] Previously, on October 18, 2014, at a meeting with a delegation of Yemeni clerics and cultural figures visiting Tehran, Khamenei advisor Ali Akhbar Velayati noted Yemen’s geostrategic advantages: “The way to liberate Palestine passes through Yemen, because this country is strategically located – it is situated next to the Red Sea and, more precisely, next to Bab El-Mandeb.”[12] On another occasion, Velayati said: “[Previously,] no one paid attention to Iran’s regional power – but today, everyone must acknowledge it. Today, Iran has fundamental influence from Yemen to Lebanon.”[13]

Signs And Posters For Iran’s Revolution Day 2015 Feature Houthi Leader Next To Leaders Of Iran, Resistance Axis

Signs and posters for Iran’s Revolution Day 2015 featured Houthi leader Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi with the slogan “The Revolution Continues” in Persian and in Arabic, and also together with Khomeini, Khamenei, Qods Force commander Soleimani, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, and Bahraini Shi’ite Al-Wafaq opposition leader Ali Salman.

Revolution Day 2015, Iran: “The Islamic Revolution Continues In Yemen” with Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi (source: Yemen-24.com, Fars, Iran, February 11, 2015)

Revolution Day 2015, Iran: Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi, Khomeini, Khamenei, Qods Force Leader Soleimani, Nasrallah, Bahraini Shi’ite opposition leader Salman (source: Defapress.ir, February 11, 2015)

It should be noted that Defapress.ir, which is affiliated with the IRGC, reported on February 11, 2015 that a delegation of Houthi fighters from Yemen had participated in Revolution Day marches in Iran.[14]

Houthi fighers in Iran march for Iran Revolution Day (source: Defapress.ir, February 11, 2015)

Military Support
Despite Iran’s claim that it has no military presence in Yemen,[15] there are reports that the IRGC is conducting widespread military collaboration with the Houthis. The two sides have traded military delegations, and the IRGC has armed the Houthis via land and air in addition to training them in camps in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.

Exchanging Military Delegations

On March 17, 2015, the anti-Houthi Yemeni news site Yemenpost.net reported that dozens of IRGC soldiers were present in Yemen.[16] On March 18, the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, citing sources in Sana’a, reported that the Houthis had sent a military delegation to Tehran in order to sign armament agreements, and that military officials from South Yemen had been included in the delegation in order to disguise the Iranian-Houthi collaboration.[17] Earlier, on January 22, 2015, the website Alkhaleejonline.net reported, citing Iraqi sources, that an Iranian military-security delegation comprising security, military, political, and economic advisors had arrived in Yemen via Iraq to assist the Houthis, after meeting in Najaf, Iraq with a Houthi delegation and with Iraqi officials to formulate a plan for getting to Yemen national defense forces in Syria.

Qods Force Deputy Commander: Qods Force Is Operating In Yemen
In several statements, Qods Force officials have stressed their affinity for and connection with the Houthis. Qods Force Deputy Commander Qaani acknowledged that the Qods Force was operating in Yemen when he said that it had evacuated 52 people wounded in the March 20, 2015 mosque bombings in Sana’a to Tehran for medical treatment.[18] One of the wounded, Muhammad Abdel-Malik Al-Shami, who was in charge of liaison between the Houthis and Iran, later died; he was buried by Hizbullah in Dahiya, Beirut, next to Hizbullah commander ‘Imad Mughniya.[19]

Similarity In Emblems – Houthis, Hizbullah, IRGC

The emblems of the Houthis, Qods Force, and Hizbullah show a clear connection:

Left: Ansar Allah (Yemeni Houthi) emblem; center: Hizbullah emblem; right, IRGC emblem (source: Afsaran.ir, March 28, 2015)

Khamenei’s Representative In Qods Force: “Ansar Allah [In Yemen] Are A Copy Of Lebanese Hizbullah”

In a January 24, 2015 interview, Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative in the Qods Force, explained that the Houthis operate on the same format as Hizbullah, and that they will therefore act against Iran’s enemies in the future: “Ansar Allah are a copy of Lebanese Hizbullah. The popular Basij [i.e. Popular Forces] in Iraq and Syria are also copies of Hizbullah and Ansar Allah. In every country where our enemies entered the arena in order to defeat Islam, the opposite happened – that is, Basij and national defense [forces] arose… In the future, all these groups will enter the arena against all the enemies of Islam and the Muslims.”[20]

Khamenei Advisor: Iran Supports Ansar Allah’s Struggle In Yemen
On October 18, 2014, Khamenei advisor Ali Akbar Velayati told the delegation of Yemeni clerics and cultural figures visiting Tehran: “Just as Hizbullah in Lebanon fights and defeats the terrorists and its enemies, Ansar Allah must also continue its struggle against Yemen’s terrorists… The Islamic Republic of Iran supports Ansar Allah’s wise struggle in Yemen and sees it as part of the success of the Islamic Awakening movement… Ansar Allah and the [Shi’ite] Zaidis will undoubtedly win, and this victory is near.”[21]

Iran Dispatches Aid To The Houthis By Air
On December 10, 2014, the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported, citing a high-ranking security source in Yemen, that Iranian aircraft had in recent weeks landed at the Houthi-held Sana’a airport to unload weapons and ammunition for the Houthis.[22]

On February 17, 2015, the newspaper reported that Iranian transport planes had transferred spare fighter jet parts to Sa’da. According to the report, the Houthis had sent 20 jets from Al-Hodeida airport to Sana’a and Sa’da province in preparation for strikes against anti-Houthi tribes in Al-Jouf and Marib. The jets were flown there by two Houthi pilots and two foreign pilots, most likely Iranians. This happened the day after Yemen’s civil aviation authority, also Houthi controlled, had suspended all air traffic at Al-Hodeida airport, citing security concerns.[23]

On February 28, 2015, Iran and Yemen signed an air traffic agreement, under which there would be 14 weekly flights on the Tehran-Sana’a route.[24]

On March 2, 2015, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, citing Yemeni sources, reported that the Iran-Houthi air traffic agreement was aimed at allowing the Iranians to send intelligence personnel and communications and tracking equipment to Houthis who had been trained in Tehran and Beirut. The daily also quoted high-ranking Yemeni officials as saying that IRGC commanders and Iranian intelligence personnel were already on the ground in Yemen, and that more were expected to arrive.[25]

At the Arab League summit in Sharm Al-Sheikh on March 25, 2015, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen called for a no-fly zone in Yemen to prevent Iranian air access to the Houthis.[26]

Iran Dispatches Aid To The Houthis By Sea

On January 26, 2015, Yemeni media, citing security sources, reported that an Iranian tanker carrying 60,000 tons of fuel for the Houthis was approaching the Houthi-controlled Al-Hodeida port.[27] On February 2, 2015, the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported that an Iranian ship docked at Al-Hodeida had unloaded armored cars and speedboats, as part of Iran’s growing aid to the Houthis for completing their coup in Yemen.[28]

On March 19, 2015, Dubai’s Al-Hadath TV reported that an Iranian ship had unloaded “a massive quantity of military equipment” at the Houthi-controlled Al-Salif port.[29] This equipment, according to a Yemeni website, totaled 185 tons.[30]

On March 29, 2015, Yemeni military attaché to Egypt Ahmed Saeed bin Braik revealed that Yemeni security elements had noticed that Iran has several weapons caches along the Eritrean coast for dispatching weapons to the Houthis.[31]

Training In Syria

On March 6, 2015, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat cited an Italian news agency report that according to European diplomatic sources, the IRGC is training Houthi fighters in camps in southern Syria. According to the report, the Houthi fighters come to Syria directly from Iran via air or overland from Beirut, and in Syria receive combat and weapons training and gain practical experience in Syrian battles before being sent to Yemen. In each session, some 100 Houthi fighters are trained, and so far at least 3,000 have undergone this training.[32]

Political Support
Iran is providing the Houthis with unequivocal political support, because they are another facet of the resistance front and add considerable force to Iran’s expansion of its influence in the region.

On February 9, 2015, the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan explained: “One hundred years of Western investment, and over 50 years of direct American investment, as well [the West’s] use of several mercenary governments [in the Middle East], could not limit the influence of Iran’s [Islamic] Revolution. This is why Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq have one after the other joined the revolutionary camp, and now what is happening in Sana’a in Yemen heralds another spring in the Islamic world.”[33]

In a March 2, 2015 speech, Mehdi Taeb, who directs the Ammar Headquarters think tank that advises Supreme Leader Khamenei and is also the brother of IRGC intelligence bureau head Hossein Taeb, called on the Iranian public to tighten its belt to help support the Houthis, who are part of the resistance axis: “The people should know that when necessary, they must forgo their evening bread in order to support the fighters in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. The Ansar Allah regime in Yemen, which maintains a highly sensitive strategic status in Bab El-Mandeb, in the change [of king] in Saudi Arabia, and in the fighting in Syria and Iraq, destabilize the world, and the enemy rightly sees Iran as the cause of [this instability] – because without Iran there would be no war in Syria and Ansar Allah would have never emerged.”[34]

As part of its political support for the Houthis, on January 20 and February 9, 2015, Tehran rejected accusations, by the UN and the GCC, respectively, that the Houthis had carried out a coup in Yemen and should relinquish the regime.[35] Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, director of Iran’s Conference of Support for the Palestinian Intifada and advisor to Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, said on February 17, 2015: “Ansar Allah enjoy a popular base that the Arab monarchies themselves do not have in their own countries – but [the GCC] is accusing them of carrying out a coup and [saying] that they must relinquish the regime.”[36]

The Iranian news agency Fars, which is affiliated with the IRGC, claimed on February 17, 2015 that the UN’s goal was to sow chaos in Yemen according to the Libyan model, and to secure the interests of the West and of Saudi Arabia.[37]

Iranian support for the Houthi coup in Sana’a was also reflected in February 11, 2015 statements by Iranian Army chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi: “Today, the Yemeni capital is the safest place in the region, thanks to the revolutionaries deployed in Yemen’s capital and the control exerted by the revolutionary forces in the military, security, and intelligence centers [there]… No one but the Americans and their European lackeys are trying to destabilize security in Yemen…”[38]

Tehran also called on the West to recognize the status of Yemen’s Houthis, in light of their effectiveness in combatting Al-Qaeda in the country. On January 17, 2015, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: “I state clearly that neither the Americans nor the Yemeni government – whether during the era of [Yemeni president] ‘Ali ‘Abdallah Saleh or following the recent upheavals in Yemen – have succeeded in their fight against Al-Qaeda in Yemen at all… with no victories. The Houthis and Ansar Allah, on the other hand, have inflicted major blows on Al-Qaeda in Yemen…”[39]

Economic Aid
In early March 2015, a delegation of 15 Houthi officials paid an official visit to Tehran to consult with Iranian regime officials on bilateral ties, the upheavals in Yemen, and regional issues.[40] On March 14, delegation head Saleh Al-Samad, who heads the Ansar Allah political committee and is an advisor to Houthi leader ‘Abd Al-Malek Al-Houthi, revealed the details of the agreements and MOU signed during the visit: “Iran will expand the Houthi-controlled Al-Hodeida port in western Yemen. This is the port closest to Bab El-Mandeb, and the only point linking the Red Sea and international waters.

“Iran will support Yemen by exporting oil to it for one year. Iran will construct and operate a 165-megawatt power plant in Yemen. Iran will provide spare parts and repair [services] for the Marib naturalgas facility. Iran will dispatch technical crews to explore construction of power plants in the Aden and Al-Hodeida governorates, and in the city of Mocha in the Taiz governorate. Iran will dispatch experts to Yemen to provide training in matters of electricity, water, and transportation, particularly marine transportation.”[41]

Anti-Saudi, Anti-U.S., Anti-West Statements And Threats
Since the Houthi takeover of Sana’a, Iranian regime speakers and mouthpieces have stressed the takeover’s strategic and geopolitical benefits for Tehran – first and foremost its access to the strategic Bab El-Mandeb. Tehran now adds Yemen, and particularly Bab El-Mandeb, as possible targets when it issues threats to Saudi Arabia and the West, emphasizing Iran’s influence over the country’s Houthis. Regime circles have also leveraged the Houthi coup to issue implicit calls to Shi’ites in eastern Saudi Arabia to launch an armed struggle against the Saudi regime.

Iranian Website: Saudi Arabia’s Nervousness Is Justified In Light Of Upcoming U.S. Recognition Of A Nuclear Iran

On March 17, 2015, the Iran Diplomacy website stated: “The Saudis have always considered Yemen a country that could live [only] in the shadow of the Saudi umbrella of support. They did not allow any country to interfere in any events in Yemen, and believed that they alone had the right to intervene to solve any problem. The Saudis were still preoccupied with the developments in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria when suddenly they heard that Sana’a had fallen.

“The Zaidi Houthis captured the Yemeni capital. Their seizure of power means a stronger Iran footprint in an area critical to Saudi Arabia. This means that in addition to the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean, Iran can now access the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

“While all Arab countries have cut back on their traffic to and from Yemen, Iran has launched 14 direct weekly flights to Sana’a. The Houthi faith is the Zaidiyyah, and in the schools of Islam, the Zaidis are considered a branch of the Shi’a. Therefore, the Saudis see their seizure of power as an Iranian one. Why shouldn’t the Saudis and their Arab allies be nervous – particularly when they see the Americans progressing towards the signing of a final nuclear agreement and official recognition of a nuclear Iran’s might and influence?”[42]

Kayhan Headline: “The Revolution Is Victorious In Yemen – The Losers Are Mourning In Riyadh”

The lead headline on the front page of the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan on March 2, 2015 read: The Revolution Is Victorious In Yemen – The Losers Are Mourning In Riyadh.”

Source: Kayhan, Iran, March 2, 2015

Tehran Friday Prayer Headquarters Director Threatens Saudi Arabia: Iran Controls All Regional Oil Routes – Including Bab El-Mandeb

On January 17, 2015, Tehran Friday Prayer Headquarters director Yadollah Shirmardi published an article on the IRGC-affiliated website Tasnim stating that Iran controls Bab El-Mandeb and would take revenge on Saudi Arabia for lowering oil prices. He added that the Middle East’s international oil routes are all within range of Iran’s missiles: “The nations of the region will not forget the Arab leaders’ betrayal of lowering oil prices, and revenge will be minimal punishment for this Saudi strategic error. Today, all oil routes – from Bab El-Mandeb to the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz – are under Iranian control, by means of Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, and all are within range of Iran’s missiles…”[43]

IRGC Deputy Commander: The Interest Of The Iran-Allied Houthis Is Contrary To The U.S.’s Interest

On January 24, 2015, IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said: “A look at the Yemeni arena shows that the same forces that drew inspiration from the Islamic Revolution are now rediscovering an expansive role that is in stark contrast to the political interests of America and its allies in the region. The upheavals in Yemen never advance in favor of American policy.”[44]

IRGC Weekly: Bab El-Mandeb Will Close If West Tries To Oust Houthis
On March 2, 2015, the IRGC weekly Sobh-e Sadeq warned the West against trying to prevent the rise of the Houthis in Yemen: “Saudi Arabia, America, and their allies are trying to prevent the rise of another Shi’ite government in the region and the addition of another element to the resistance axis. Therefore, they are trying to Syrianize Yemen by injecting ISIS terrorism [into it] and strengthening Al-Qaeda there. This is the scenario that threatens the region more than anything, and its implementation creates many problems that will cause blowback for their initiators.

“In any event, Yemen has a highly sensitive geopolitical status, stemming in part from its location in the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al-Mandeb. [Yemen’s] location links East and West. These days, Europe imports 3.5 million barrels of oil through these straits, and if the crisis [in Yemen] worsens and Bab El-Mandeb is closed, it would create a dangerous situation. We must not forget that Europe is in a highly sensitive spot with regard to energy, because of its current conflict with Russia.”[45]

Calls For Saudi Shi’ites To Imitate Houthi Coup
On December 2, 2014, Iranian pundit Hassan Hanizadeh, who is close to IRGC circles, wrote: “The victory of the Houthis in Yemen, the rise to power of the Shi’ites in Iraq, the strengthening of Hizbullah [in Lebanon], the strengthening of Iran, and the possible victory of Bashar Al-Assad as an Alawi-Shi’ite figure [in Syria] can directly impact the steps taken by the Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia… Undoubtedly, if the Shi’ites in the region and the world grow stronger, this will influence the strengthening of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’ites.”[46]

In addition, on December 20, 2014, the IRGC-associated Twitter account @IRGCnetwork, which has since been shut down, tweeted: “The experience of Ansar Allah and of Hizbullah will recur in eastern Saudi Arabia. The people needs to defend itself from the serial military attacks by the Al-Saud regime.”

@IRGCNetwork, December 20, 2014.

Iranian Pundit Hanizadeh: Saudi Arabia Is Trying To Prevent Shi’ite Revolution From Spilling Over Into Its Territory

Hassan Hanizadeh told Fars on February 17, 2015: “The Saudi-led GCC does not want the Shi’ites in power… How is it that Ansar Allah in Yemen is a coup, but the genocide in Syria is a revolution? Ansar Allah is part of Yemeni society and its demands are legitimate…

“Saudi Arabia seeks to divide Yemen and sow civil war there. Saudi officials are trying to create a buffer between the Houthis and [majority Shi’ite] eastern Saudi Arabia to avoid a domestic crisis… Because it is adjacent to Yemen, Saudi Arabia is sensitive to the events there, and has established a command center in Riyadh to impact the Yemeni upheavals. Saudi Arabia will not permit Ansar Allah to control Yemen under any circumstances. Iran does not directly enter into regional affairs, but due to its capabilities, it is approached by others. Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon have no support base other than Iran, which is why they turn to it. This is also true of the Sunni Hamas.”[47]

* Y. Mansharof and E. Kharrazi are Research Fellows at MEMRI.


[1] State.gov, March 23, 2015.

[2] Whitehouse.gov, March 23, 2015.

[3] AFP, February 24, 2015. Previously, on January 21, 2015, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked, “Does the Administration see the hand of Iran in what’s going on? She replied: “Well, we have talked in the past about the fact that we believe the Houthis have concerning relations with Iran, and we’re certainly aware of reports of a variety of support provided by Iran to the Houthis, but I don’t have any more details or specifics on that at this point in time.” State.gov, January 21, 2015.

[4] Kalameh.tv, February 13, 2015. 

[5] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 4530 – Iranian Analyst Mohammad Sadeq Al-Hosseini: Saudi Arabia Is on the Verge of Extinction; We Are the New Sultans of the Mediterranean, the Gulf, and the Red Sea, September 24, 2014.

[6] Mehr (Iran), February 8, 2015.

[7] Fars (Iran), February 11, 2015.

[8] Namehnews.ir (Iran), February 11, 2015.

[9] Digarban.com, April 2, 2015.

[10] Digarban.com, April 2, 2015.

[11] Fars (Iran), March 9, 2015.

[12] ISNA (Iran), October 18, 2014.

[13] Fars (Iran), December 15, 2014.

[14] Defapress.ir (Iran), February 11, 2015.

[15] See, for example, statements by Hamid Reza Moghaddam Far, an advisor to the IRGC commander, who said that Iran had no military units in Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, and Lebanon, but rather an effective soft power whose symbol is the Qods Force and its commander Qassem Soleimani. Mehr (Iran), December 5, 2014.

[16] Twitter.com/YemenPostNews, March 17, 2015.

[17] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 18, 2015.

[18] Digarban.com, March 24, 2015.

[19] Janoubia.com (Lebanon), April 12, 2015.

[20] Defapress.ir, January 24, 2015.

[21] ISNA (Iran), October 18, 2014.

[22] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 10, 2014.

[23] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), February 17, 2015.

[24] Al-‘Alam (Iran), February 28, 2015.

[25] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 2, 2015.

[26] Alarabiya.net, March 25, 2015. On March 31, 2015, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham denied that Iran was transferring weapons to the Houthis using the Tehran-Sana’a aerial route and stressed that the flights were solely intended to provide humanitarian aid. Tasnim (Iran), March 31, 2015.

[27] Alsahwa-yemen.net, January 29, 2015.

[28] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), February 2, 2015.

[29] Al-Hadath TV (Dubai), March 19, 2015.

[30] Yemen-24.com, March 19, 2015.

[31] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), March 29, 2015.

[32] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 6, 2015.

[33] Kayhan (Iran), February 9, 2015.

[34] Rasa News (Iran), March 2, 2015.

[35] Arabnews.com, February 9, 2015; UN.org, January 20, 2015.

[36] Fars (Iran), February 17, 2015.

[37] Fars (Iran), February 17, 2015.

[38] Tasnim (Iran), February 11, 2015.

[39] Al-‘Alam (Iran), January 17, 2015. Also see the call by Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, director of Iran’s Conference of Support for the Palestinian Intifada, to the West to decide whom they are supporting in Yemen – Al-Qaeda or the Houthis. Fars (Iran), February 17, 2015.

[40] IRNA, Raja News (Iran), March 1, 2015.

[41] Asr-e Iran (Iran), March 14, 2015.

[42] Irdiplomacy.ir, March 17, 2015.

[43] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 1144, Tehran Threatens Saudi Arabia; Khamenei: Iran Will Answer Saudi Arabia ‘A Blow For A Blow’, February 10, 2015.

[44] Al-‘Alam (Iran), January 4, 2015.

[45] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), March 2, 2015.

[46] Fars (Iran), December 2, 2014.

[47] Fars (Iran), February 17, 2015.