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11 Arab countries warn against Iran’s expansionism in letter to U.N.

11 Arab countries sent a formal letter to the United Nations to warn against Iran’s expansionism and interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East.

The letter was sent by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen, to  Peter Thomson, president of the UN General Assembly’s 71st session, as well as to all 193 member states.

It condemned Iran’s sponsorship of regional terrorism, particularly stressing the case of Yemen where, they claim, Iran has provided financial, strategic, and military support to the Houthi rebels.

It said that Iran’s calls for revolution in Yemen are dangerous incitements to violence that have destabilized an already fragile country. It also condemns Iran’s support of terrorism in Syria and Lebanon and its support of terrorist cells in Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere.

The letter also stated that Iran has been providing shipments of weapons to the Houthi rebels.  Iran has officially denied any involvement in the conflict, although the U.S. has claimed that it has intercepted several shipments of arms sent to the rebels by Iran.

The statement was issued after a United Arab Emirates vessel was attacked by Houthi rebels. In October the rebels announced that they had struck a vessel sent by Yemen, a member of an Arab coalition that has invaded Yemen in support of its ousted president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and his government.

Since March 2015, the Arab coalition, headed by Saudi Arabia, has pushed the rebels out of much of southern Yemen, but they still control nearly all of Yemen’s Red Sea coast as well as swathes of territory around Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.

Rebel missiles have also struck U.S. military personnel, as well. In mid-October, three U.S. warships in the Red Sea detected a missile launch from the coast. The U.S.S. Mason, a destroyer, evaded the missile attack and launched countermeasures against the rebels.ballistic missiles used by the Houthis are the same Soviet-era rockets used by Iran, leading many observors to conclude that Iran has provided the Houthis with weapons from its military stockpile.

The Yemeni vessel Swift, which was carrying humanitarian aid and a civilian crew, was successfully struck by a rebel missile attack which destroyed its observation tower. The letter sent to the U.N. said that the attack was a clear violation of international law and was a threat to freedom of navigation in the Bab Al Mandeb strait, a shipping passage.

Morocco, Oman and Sudan were also among the signatories of the letter, which concluded that “the stability and economic prosperity in the Arabian Gulf region is founded on the importance of maintaining good neighbourliness and the principles of sovereignty, independence, and non-inter­ference in domestic affairs.”

 

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