Flashpoint / Global 26 October 2020 Bab al-Mandab, Yemen Share Facebook Twitter Email Print Back To Map I. Why it Matters In March 2015, Saudi Arabia began a military intervention in Yemen against a coalition of forces affiliated with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Huthi rebels that had seized power from President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi two months earlier. Riyadh views the Huthis as Iranian proxies, and was deeply alarmed when they and Saleh’s forces subsequently moved south and captured Aden, Yemen’s second largest city. (Saleh split from the Huthis, who then killed him, in December 2017). Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are rising as the Huthis launch missiles towards Saudi at a growing tempo, using technology and knowledge likely provided or enhanced by Tehran. The U.S. has declared its intent to push back against Iran’s regional influence, and has offered limited but important assistance to the Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign against the Huthis. An escalation in Yemen – including a successful Huthi missile strike on a Saudi or Emirati city – could lead to an escalatory cycle between Riyadh and Tehran and even act as a trigger for a direct U.S.-Iranian confrontation. II. Recent Developments 26 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed multiple “bomb-laden UAV[s]” launched by the Huthis towards the Kingdom. A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that Huthi drones had “hit accurately an important military target” at Abha International Airport. View More 25 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had intercepted multiple “bomb-laden UAV[s]” launched by the Huthis towards Saudi Arabia over consecutive days. A Huthi military spokesperson reported that Huthi drones had been used against “Jizan and Abha airports and Khamis Mushait military base”. View More 23 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed two Huthi launched “bomb-laden UAV[s]” targeting Saudi Arabia. View More 20 October 2020 The U.S. ambassador to the UN told the Security Council that “Iran continues to support the Huthi rebels who have plunged that country into a bloody civil war… Instead of supporting peace efforts to end the conflict, Iran has continually sent the Huthis weapons to fuel the war, in violation of the arms embargo in Resolution 2216”. View More 18 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that the Huthis had “launched a ballistic missile from Sanaa governorate… using civilian objects as a launch site”. “The missile fell short” and landed in Saada governorate, the report added. View More 17 October 2020 Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that an ambassador to Yemen, Hassan Irloo, had arrived in Sanaa. The Yemeni government asserted that Tehran had “clandestinely dispatched a figure… joining the ranks of Hizbollah and IRGC who have already entered the country with nefarious intentions”, and also declared that it “does not recognise the presence of any diplomatic officials present in Sanaa aligned with the Iran-backed Huthis”. On 21 October, the U.S. diplomatic spokesperson argued that “the Iranian regime smuggled… an IRGC member tied to Lebanese Hizbollah, into Yemen under the guise of ‘Ambassador’ to the Huthi militia. Iran’s intent to use the Huthis to expand its malign influence is clear. The Yemeni people should say no to Irloo and Iran”. View More 16 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition and the Huthis concluded a two-day prisoner swap releasing more than 1000 individuals as part of a UN-brokered deal. View More 14 October 2020 Following a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan contended that “the Iranian regime continues to provide financial and material support to terrorist groups, including in Yemen where the Huthis have launched more than 300 Iranian-made ballistic missiles and drones towards the Kingdom. Their development of their nuclear program, ballistic missiles and their malign activities represent a grave danger to the region and the world”. He further asserted that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. “are both committed to counter and deter Iran’s destabilising behaviour”. View More 14 October 2020 U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien confirmed the release of two “U.S. citizens… from Huthi custody in Yemen”; in parallel, Omani state media and Huthi officials reported that more than 200 Huthis had been returned to Saana. View More 14 October 2020 The U.S. and Saudi Arabia held a strategic dialogue and reiterated “bilateral commitments to counter Iran’s threats to regional security and prosperity, seek a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen and enhance maritime and border security”. Speaking alongside his Saudi counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that “it’s no secret that Iran’s destabilising behaviour threatens Saudi Arabia’s security and disrupts global commerce. That’s clear from Iran’s ballistic missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities in the fall of last year, and the frequent, ongoing Huthi bombardment of Saudi territory using rockets, drones and other lethal technology supplied by the regime in Tehran”. In separate remarks, Pompeo underscored that “we are doing everything we can to make sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran has fewer resources with which to underwrite the Huthis… Our pressure campaign in Iran has been enormously successful at denying them the resources for terror”. View More 13 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “destroyed a ballistic missile” the Huthis “had been planning to launch towards Saudi Arabia”. View More 10 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed two Huthi-launched “bomb-laden UAV[s]” towards Saudi Arabia; another was intercepted the following day. View More 7 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed a Huthi “bomb-laden UAV in Yemeni airspace”, intended to “target civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom”. View More 6 October 2020 The Yemeni Minister of Information maintained that Tehran “has provided the Huthi militia with the means to produce missiles, drones and sending consultants to militia-controlled areas”. He further urged Washington to move forward with “designating the Huthi militia as a terrorist organisation, freezing its assets and preventing its leaders from traveling abroad”. View More 6 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed a Huthi “bomb-laden UAV… target[ing] civilians and civilian objects in Najran”. View More 5 October 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had thwarted an “imminent terrorist attack” by “a remotely-controlled explosive-laden Houthi boat” close to a Yemeni port. View More 27 September 2020 The UN announced that “delegates representing the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah have agreed to immediately release a first group of 1,081 conflict-related detainees and prisoners”, including fifteen Saudi nationals. The Iranian Foreign Ministry hailed the agreement and considered it a sign that “Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue is the only solution to the country’s current problems”. View More 27 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed “in Yemeni airspace a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis towards Saudi Arabia. View More 23 September 2020 A senior IRGC official cautioned that “Iran will not just retaliate any U.S. attempt to inspect Iranian ships in international waters, but also give a decisive response to such moves in sensitive places… They will face our massive fire”. He further insisted that “the U.S. will not succeed to achieve its objective of imposing [an] arms ban against Iran”. View More 23 September 2020 King Salman told the UN General Assembly that “our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security. A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required to ensure fundamental solutions to the Iranian regime’s attempt to obtain weapons of mass destruction, and its ballistic missile program, and its interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and its sponsorship of terrorism”. On Yemen, he maintained that Tehran “interfered… by supporting the coup carried out by its surrogate, the Huthi militia”, adding: “the Kingdom will not hesitate to defend its national security, nor will it abandon the fraternal people of Yemen until they regain their complete sovereignty and independence from Iranian hegemony”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson subsequently noted: “Saudi Arabia has, for years, been pursuing a blame-game policy and seeking to distort realities in order to escape the realities and not to be held accountable for its crimes”. He further highlighted Iran’s “fundamental policy of boosting diplomatic and dialogue-oriented talks in the region and the promotion of relations with all neighbours”. View More 22 September 2020 The U.S. State Department underscored that Washington “remains deeply concerned by the Huthis’ aggression, supported by Iranian weapons shipments in violation of UN arms embargoes”, and urged “the Huthis to immediately cease their cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia”. View More 22 September 2020 An Iranian military spokesperson confirmed that “we provided… [Yemenis] with the experiences in technology in the defence sphere, as they have learned how to produce missiles, drones and weapons in Yemen by themselves”. “The resistance front countries have armies and forces themselves. We provide them with advisory help. In order to share our experiences with the people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, our experienced forces go there and give them intellectual assistance, but this is the people and armies of those countries who stand against the enemies in practice”, he added. View More 19 September 2020 A Saudi official reported receiving “a report about the fall of a military projectile launched by the Iranian-backed Huthi militia from inside Yemeni territory”, which injured five civilians in Jizan. View More 17 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had “intercepted and destroyed... a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis in the direction of Khamis Mushait. View More 10 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed “a number of ballistic missiles and bomb-laden UAVs” launched by the Huthis toward Saudi Arabia, and accused the Huthis of “deliberately escalating the hostile, terrorist targeting of civilians and civilian objects”. A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that they had hit “important targets” in Riyadh “in retaliation to the continuous escalation by the Saudi enemy and its continuous siege on Yemen”. View More 9 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis toward Saudi Arabia. A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that multiple Huthi drones had “targeted Abha International Airport” and “struck the designated targets with great precisions”. View More 8 September 2020 A UN panel of experts report on Yemen concluded that between July 2019 and June 2020, Iran and the U.S. were among the countries that “continued their support of parties to the conflict including through arms transfers, thereby helping to perpetuate the conflict”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson asserted that the report “ignored Iran’s pivotal role and its unfailing assistance for the political settlement of crisis in Yemen and has made a totally false claim by putting Iran on a list alongside those who arm the Saudi-led coalition aggressors… The allegation of Iran’s arms support for Yemen is basically false”. View More 8 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had intercepted “a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis towards Saudi Arabia. A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that multiple Huthis drones had “targeted Abha International Airport”, adding that it was a “response to the continuous escalation of the forces of aggression [ie, the Saudi-led coalition] and their continued siege of the Yemeni people”. View More 6 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had intercepted a Huthi “bomb-laden UAV” en route to Saudi Arabia. The same day, a Huthi military spokesperson claimed a drone attack on Abha Airport “with a number of drones targeting military sites and sensitive targets inside Saudi territory”. View More 4 September 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed a Huthi “bomb-laden UAV while in Yemeni airspace”. View More 31 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis towards Saudi Arabia. View More 30 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had intercepted two armed UAVs launched by the Huthis. One was aimed at Abha International Airport, where “debris scattered” following the interception; there were no reported casualties. The same day, the coalition destroyed a Huthi “bomb-laden USV” in the southern Red Sea. View More 28 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV” launched by the Huthis toward Najran. View More 27 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition downed a ballistic missile fired in the direction of Najran. View More 26 August 2020 A senior Iranian foreign ministry official met with the UN’s Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, and other senior UN officials in Geneva. View More 22 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV” and “one ballistic missile” launched by the Huthis towards Saudi Arabia. View More 20 August 2020 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, “presented a report on the latest efforts made by the UN to end the Yemen war and called on the Islamic Republic of Iran to help settle certain environmental problems in Hodeida port”. According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Zarif “expressed Iran’s preparedness to use its good offices in this regard”. View More 20 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV launched by the terrorist Huthi militia” and one ballistic missile bound for Najran. View More 15 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that it had downed “multiple bomb-laden UAVs” launched by the Huthis within Yemen. The following day, the coalition intercepted “a ballistic missile… toward civilians and civilian objects”. View More 13 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had downed “a bomb-laden UAV... and two ballistic missiles” by the Huthis targeting Khamis Mushait. View More 12 August 2020 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed “some southern neighbours” and affirmed: “Iran’s defence and weapons power is in favour of the whole region, and we use weapons to defend ourselves, and our power is not against you. You have to be careful of those who plunder your resources and sell you weapons to bomb your neighbour… Certainly, if we did not stand for the stability of the region, you would not be here today. So we have always been your supporter and brother”. View More 6 August 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and shot down a bomb-laden Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)” launched by the Huthis. View More 29 July 2020 Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remarked that “Our eternal concerns are helping innocent Palestine and showing sympathy to the injured body of Yemen and to the consternations of Muslims subject to oppression in any part of the world. We also consider it our duty to offer words of advice to the heads of some Muslim countries who have resorted to the bosom of the enemy instead of relying on their Muslim brothers”. “These are people who condone the survival of the usurping and oppressive Zionist regime [ie, Israel] and who extend their hand of friendship to them privately and openly… I warn them about the bitter consequences of this behaviour” Khamenei added. He also remarked that “we regard the presence of the U.S. in west Asia as detrimental to regional nations and as a cause of insecurity, destruction and backwardness for countries”. View More 21 July 2020 Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei contended that the U.S. “and their agents are always seeking to create a power vacuum in regional countries in order to cause chaos and prepare the ground for their own intervention. This is what they did in Yemen. Everyone can see the appalling circumstances in Yemen today”. View More 14 July 2020 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with his Huthi counterpart and remarked that “Iran has always believed that the only way to resolve the Yemen crisis is through political means, and has had constructive cooperation with relevant Yemeni and international sides to propose a peace plan for Yemen”. “Iran is of the conviction that the only way to establish stability in Yemen is to maintain its territorial integrity, unity among Yemeni groups and holding comprehensive political talks among different groups and parties to establish a united and broad-based government”, he added. View More 12 July 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had intercepted multiple ballistic missiles and “bomb-laden UAVs launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Huthi militia launched deliberately from Sanaa to target civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom”. A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that “the operation targeted the warplanes hangers, base housing and patriot systems in Khamis Mushait and other military sites at the airports of Abha, Jizan and Najran… A giant oil facility in the industrial zone in Jizan was [also] accurately targeted”. The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) the next day denounced “Iran’s provision of… weapons to the Huthis in violation of the embargo imposed by Security Council Resolution 2216”. Iran’s Foreign Ministry responded: “we recommend the new GCC secretary general focuses his attention on the need to stop attacks by the [Saudi-led] coalition aggressors against Yemeni women and children and help settle the Yemen crisis through intra-Yemeni talks rather than pursuing the blame game trend and levelling groundless accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is in line with the destructive role of some GCC members”. View More 9 July 2020 The Saudi-led coalition’s spokesperson remarked that “since the end of June… we’ve noticed the Huthi militias escalating their attempts to target civilians in Saudi Arabia, in Yemeni areas, and to threaten maritime routes and international trade. The important aspect here is that there is no doubt that the Iranian regime, the Iranian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are dictating [orders for those attempts]”. “The [Huthi] militias do not have the power to make the decision to reach a political solution… The Iranian regime is the one benefitting from the continuation of those operations or the Yemen crisis”, he contended. View More 9 July 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had conducted a “destruction operation against two legitimate military targets of the terrorist, Iran-backed Huthi militia” off the coast of Yemen. “The destroyed targets are two bomb-laden USVs [Unmanned Surface Vehicles]… prepared to imminently execute hostile and terrorist actions in Bab al-Mandab Strait and Southern Red Sea”, the coalition asserted. View More 8 July 2020 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided details of a 28 June weapons seizure previously alluded to by Saudi officials, stating that “U.S. and partner forces interdicted a vessel off the coast of Yemen with illicit cargo including 200 RPGs, more than 1,700 AK rifles, 21 surface-to-air and land-attack missiles, several anti-tank missiles and other advanced weapons and missiles”. Pompeo contended that “Iran is not abiding by the UN arms embargo restrictions” and urged the UN Security Council to “extend the arms embargo on Iran [beyond October] to prevent further conflict in the region”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson reacted by saying that “Americans who feel they have not succeeded in continuing Iran’s arms embargo on the international arena and the UN Security Council, are trying to use accusations and lies as an excuse to continue to exert maximum pressure and advance their vicious goals”. View More 3 July 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed… four bomb-laden UAVs launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Huthi militia toward the Kingdom”. A Huthi military spokesperson indicated that the attack struck “Saudi military sites in Asir and Najran provinces”, and warned that “we will continue targeting the Saudi depth and its military and sovereign institutions, and we will make sure that our targets are far from harming the Saudi people”. View More 1 July 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had “started a military operation against Yemen’s Huthi movement after it stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia”. View More 30 June 2020 Briefing the Security Council on the UN Secretary-General’s ninth biannual report on the implementation of resolution 2231, a senior UN official shared the Secretariat’s conclusion that “the examined cruise missiles and delta-wing UAVs and/or parts thereof used in the  attacks on Saudi Arabia were of Iranian origin”. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the report’s findings “reinforce our support for a continued ban on arming the Iranian regime, and confronting its developing nuclear and ballistic programs”. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that the U.S. had “coerced the Secretariat to rely on self-serving allegations and forged documents to produce an utterly unprofessional report outside the scope of its mandate”. View More 29 June 2020 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, met with senior Saudi officials in Riyadh. According to a U.S. readout, the two sides “highlighted the importance of extending the United Nations arms embargo on Iran” and “discussed joint diplomatic efforts at the UN and around the world to extend the embargo” beyond October 2020. At a joint press conference with Hook, a senior Saudi official warned that “despite the embargo, Iran seeks to provide weapons to terrorist groups, so what will happen if the embargo is lifted? Iran will be become more ferocious and aggressive”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded: “it is time that… countries [like Saudi Arabia] give up injudicious remarks and blind obedience to the U.S… The only way to establish stability and security in the region is to change hostile behaviour and turn to regional cooperation”, he added. View More 29 June 2020 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, during meetings in Riyadh “reaffirmed the U.S.’s support of a negotiated end to the conflict” in Yemen and “condemned recent Huthi attacks on Saudi Arabia”. During the visit, Saudi Arabia exhibited “weapons, including drones and missiles, that Saudi authorities said were used in cross-border Houthi attacks on Saudi cities and that were supplied to the group by Tehran”. View More 25 June 2020 The Arab Parliament issued a resolution holding “the Iranian regime fully responsible for its flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and its continued provision of Huthi coup militia with smart weapons, ballistic missiles and drones with the aim of destabilising security in the region and perpetuating chaos in the Republic of Yemen”. View More 22 June 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had intercepted “eight bomb-laden UAVs… and three ballistic missiles” launched by the Huthis. The following day, the coalition reported the interception of another Huthi missile targeting Riyadh. A Huthi military spokesperson declared that “we have implemented… the largest offensive operation named ‘the 4th Balanced Deterrence Operation’ on the capital of the Saudi enemy” as a result of “the ongoing unjust blockade and the brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people”. View More 16 June 2020 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, posited that “Iran would love to see a version of Hizbollah on Saudi’s southern flank. That is their ambition. And this would, I think, help build out Iran’s goals to create the Shiite crescent that stretches from Beirut down to Yemen. And so we’re doing what we can to interdict weapons”. Contending that “the Iranian regime has not been held to account by the international community for what it has done to create one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes”, Hook argued that “the Huthis are a tribal militia that have been organised, trained and equipped for many years by Iran. And they did this while they were in the Iran deal”. Discussing negotiations, Hook claimed that “every time we bring these groups together, Iran is always hanging outside the conference room urging the Huthis to keep at it. And that has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, obstacle to winding down the war in Yemen, is Iran wants to keep attacking Saudi Arabia through a proxy. It’s no different from what they do in Lebanon with Hizbollah or with Palestine Islamic Jihad, or with Hamas, or with its PMF in Iraq, on and on. This is Iran’s playbook”. View More 16 June 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed… a ballistic missile launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Huthi militia from Saada, Yemen, toward Najran in a deliberate attempt to target civilians and civilian objects”. View More 15 June 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed… a bomb-laden UAV launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia to deliberately target civilians and civilian objects in Khamis Mushait”. Later in the day, the coalition announced interception of “multiple bomb-laden UAVs” intended for “civilians and civilian objects in Aseer province”. A Huthi military spokesperson maintained that the strikes “hit their targets” and were “in response to the massive air escalation” by the coalition. View More 13 June 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Huthi militia from Saada governorate, deliberately targeting innocent civilians and civilian objects in Najran”. According to the statement, “minor injuries were sustained by civilians as a result of debris of the intercepted ballistic missile”. View More 10 June 2020 CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie opined that “Iran has no interest in this [Yemen] war being over. In fact, there's nothing better for them than for Saudi to continue to bleed out, for the Huthis to continue to launch attacks into Saudi Arabia and for this to continue to go on as something they can use to further embarrass the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the international stage”. McKenzie further assessed that “if we could reduce the Iranian patronage… for the Huthis we might be able to get to an ultimate solution there. And that would allow other things to happen”. View More 1 June 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed… two UAVs launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia toward civilian objects in Khamis Mushait”. View More 27 May 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “intercepted and destroyed… UAVs launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia toward civilian objects in Najran”. View More 24 May 2020 The leader of Yemen’s Ansar Allah asserted that “the Yemeni People are facing an unjust aggression under American supervision and Israeli cooperation, and it is our faith, religious, innate and national duty to confront this aggression with full force and at all levels”. View More 21 May 2020 Referring to a 19 May U.S. Navy warning, according to which “armed vessels approaching within 100m of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat”, the Pentagon underscored that “we have stated very clearly to individuals in the area to be careful and avoid our shops in the area… we’ve seen Iran violate that in an alarming and unprofessional way recently”. A spokesperson explained that “a determination was made that it would be helpful to provide a reminder, additional guidance to mariners in the area, to avoid U.S. warships and to set out a bright-line rule that would be a little bit clearer for them if there was any claims of possible confusion that they should not attempt to harass or approach or confront a U.S. warship sailing in international waters”. View More 19 May 2020 The U.S. Navy advised, with specific reference to the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea, that “due to recent events, in order to enhance safety, minimise ambiguity and reduce opportunities for miscalculations, all vessels are advised to maintain a safe distance of at least 100m from U.S. naval vessels in international waters and straits. Armed vessels approaching within 100m of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures”. An Iranian military official subsequently stated that “the naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past”. View More 13 May 2020 The U.S. convened the UN “Security Council to meet under its 2231 Format to discuss Iran’s April 22 satellite launch”, which it called “yet another example of Iran’s relentless defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231”. According to the U.S. mission, its representatives “highlighted Iran’s ongoing violation of the UN arms embargo in Resolution 2231, reminding Council members that Iran continues to funnel weapons to proxy forces and terrorist groups in places like Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain”. The U.S. also argued that “Iran’s continued violations of the Security Council’s arms embargo demands greater pressure from the Security Council, not less, and the U.S. will work tirelessly with a coalition of concerned nations to ensure the embargo is extended”. View More 1 May 2020 The U.S. sanctioned an Iranian-Iraqi dual citizen, Amir Dianat, whom it said was “involved in IRGC-QF [ie, Quds force] efforts to generate revenue and smuggle weapons abroad”. According to the Treasury Department, which also sanctioned a company controlled by Dianat, the Quds force “relied on Dianat to security entry for vessels IRGC-QF shipments”. The U.S. also asserted that “Dianat has been directly involved in IRGC-QF efforts to smuggle shipments from Yemen to Iran”. View More 30 April 2020 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, referring to the 15 April naval interaction between Iranian and U.S. vessels, argued that “the Iranian swift boats that the IRGC operates exceeded the rules of maritime safety in international waters. The Iranian regime would like to desensitise us so that after doing it a number of times, they could then get within sufficient range to actually kill American soldiers. We're not gonna let that happen. We're going to enforce the rules of the road in international waters… As a matter of self defence, and protecting the lives of Americans, President Trump said that if they do it again the boats will be destroyed”. In related comments, Secretary of State Pompeo underscored that U.S. forces “have all the authority they need to do what’s right to defend themselves, no matter who it is that presents that risk to them”. View More 27 April 2020 After the Yemeni Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in southern Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition called “for an immediate end to any steps contrary to the Riyadh Agreement, and work rapidly toward its implementation”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson also indicated that “Iran supports the united Yemen whose territorial integrity is protected… Such actions [of self-rule] will not only fail to help solve the current problems in Yemen, but will complicate the situation in the country”. The U.S. State Department said it was “concerned” by the STC announcement, contending that “such unilateral actions only exacerbate instability in Yemen”. View More 26 April 2020 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with the UN Secretary-General, who, according to an Iranian readout, “welcomed the Islamic Republic of Iran’s efforts to ensure a ceasefire in Yemen and launch political talks over the Yemeni crisis”. Both officials “also emphasised the need for the reopening and security of the border and ports in Yemen to deliver humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, particularly at the time of outbreak of coronavirus”. View More 24 April 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced “a one-month extension of the ceasefire” initiated on 8 April. The statement indicated that “the chance is still there for concerted efforts to reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Yemen, and consensus on serious, direct and tangible steps to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni brotherly people”. The Coalition also stated that “it will strongly support such fundamental steps with the UN in order to reach a just and comprehensive political solution agreed upon by all the Yemenis”. A Huthi military spokesperson subsequently reported multiple strikes by the coalition. View More 11 April 2020 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with the UN Secretary-General discussing, inter alia, “latest developments in Yemen”. The two spoke again the following day. According to an Iranian readout, “the UN chief gave a report on the international body’s efforts to maintain the ceasefire in Yemen”, and “Zarif expressed support for the Secretary-General's efforts… stating that the Yemeni crisis has no military solution. He also called the establishment of a lasting ceasefire a prelude for the launch of political process to resolve the crisis”. View More 8 April 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced a “comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen for a period of two weeks”, effective 9 April and with a possibility of extension. A spokesperson declared that “the Coalition will seize this opportunity to unite all efforts to reach a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire in Yemen, and agree on serious, concrete and direct steps to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people and maintain their health and safety” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A Huthi military spokesperson on 9 April maintained that coalition strikes were ongoing. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the announcement and “urge[d] the Huthis to respond in kind and cooperate with the UN special envoy, who has called for urgent talks between the parties”; another senior U.S. diplomat opined that “we think this is incredibly productive, and we think it’s really problematic that the Huthis aren’t following suit”. View More 1 April 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Saudi counterpart and “underscored that the U.S. strongly condemns the Huthis’ attempted attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia on 28 March”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the de-escalation efforts led by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, and the Secretary and the Foreign Minister agreed that an unstable Yemen only benefits the Iranian regime and that the regime’s destabilising behaviour there must be countered. The Secretary underscored that the U.S. would continue to support Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening behaviour”. View More 31 March 2020 Discussing an 28 March Huthi missile attack against Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that “the damage that was done by those was very minor, but nonetheless there’d been a lot of work to reduce conflict, to take down the levels of violence that were there, and we’d had some success. The Saudis had been leading that effort, and it broke down that day”. Pompeo added that “the Saudis have now responded, and I’m hopeful they can get back on the right path. We are hopeful that we can find a path forward with the UN Security Council resolution in Yemen to find a path to peace there... Sadly, it appears that the Iranians don’t share our vision for peace in Yemen and in Saudi Arabia”. View More 30 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that in response to a 28 March Huthi missile attack, the coalition had “conducted a military operation to neutralise and destroy ‘legitimate military targets’ of the terrorist Huthi militia in accordance with customary International Humanitarian Law to confront ongoing and imminent threats”. The statement added that “the targets that were destroyed include advanced capabilities of the terrorist militia, storage, assembly and installation sites of ballistic missiles and UAVs, locations of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) experts and weapons depots”. The coalition further posited that “the Iranian regime is concentrating all financial, man and logistic powers to support the terrorist militia to realise its ideals and expansionist ambitions on the account of the Iranian people who are suffering in this hectic time”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded by calling on “the coalition of aggressors against Yemen to take into account the realities on the ground… instead of delusions and reveries, and to recognise that playing with words, pinning blame on others and making accusations against the others will not make up for their political and military failures”. View More 28 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “the Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia… toward Riyadh and Jizan”. Debris fell in both cities though there were no initial reports of casualties. The coalition asserted that “the launch of ballistic missiles by the terrorist Huthi militia and the IRGC at this time reflects the real threat of this terrorist militia and the Iranian regime sponsoring it…It is a continuation of Iran’s strategy of falsification and procrastination to deepen the suffering of brotherly people of Yemen, and further proof that the Huthi militia is stripped of its will and decision-making ability to end this crisis”. View More 26 March 2020 Lithuania signed on to the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), joining seven other countries in the U.S.-led initiative. View More 26 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had been “able to intercept and destroy UAVs launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia toward civilian objects in Abha and Khamis Mushait”. View More 24 March 2020 On the anniversary of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement to condemn the coalition’s “continuous military aggression”. It also claimed that the U.S. had “unveiled its strategy in Yemen with a remarkable increase in its military presence in various parts of Yemen, and seeks to stabilise itself militarily in that country… however, the U.S. will ultimately suffer another defeat in Yemen and will leave that country in humiliation”. Maintaining that “the crisis in Yemen has no military solution”, the statement added that “Iran supports Yemen’s territorial unity, and emphasises that political solutions such as the Stockholm Agreement and its generalization to all other issues and regions in Yemen could keep the hopes alive for the achievement of peace and calm across that country”. View More 17 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “detected an attempt by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia to conduct an imminent hostile, terrorist act in Southern Red Sea using two R/C exploding boats launched from Hodeida governorate”. View More 7 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had “destroyed… six remote-controlled exploding boats and naval mines assembly, rigging and launch sites” in western Yemen, adding that “these locations are used [by the Huthis] to prepare execution of hostile action and terrorist operations that threaten sea lines of communication and international trade in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait”. View More 4 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that “an imminent terrorist attack that was aiming to target an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea… was thwarted”. The coalition’s spokesperson indicated that “the attempt was carried out using four boats and [was] attempting to bomb the oil tanker using one of the unmanned, remote-controlled exploding boats”, and further asserted that “the naval threat… has evolved into a strategic threat to international security”. View More 25 February 2020 The UN Security Council adopted resolution 2511 in a 13-0 vote, with Russia and China abstaining, authorising a one-year extension today of the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in 2014 on individuals or entities threatening peace, security and stability in Yemen… The Council also reaffirmed the provisions of an arms embargo imposed in April 2015 on militias of Ansar Allah – also known as the Huthis – and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh”. View More 25 February 2020 A senior State Department official asserted that “Iran's support to Huthis, especially in areas like sending advanced weapons, is continuing without any diminution. They might even be stepping it up”. The official further remarked that “there is the potential there to encourage elements of the Huthi movement to recognise that being linked to Iran is not in their interest”. View More 23 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition said that it had foiled “an attempt of an imminent hostile, terrorist attack in Southern Red [Sea] using a remote-controlled exploding boat… by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia”. The coalition also announced that it had carried out “a military operation to destroy legitimate military targets of Iran-made ballistic missile and UAV assembly, storage and launch capabilities in the capital [ie, Sanaa]”. View More 20 February 2020 During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with King Salman and “discussed bilateral issues, including countering the malign influence of the Iranian regime, as well as the need for cooperation on regional conflicts such as Syria and Yemen”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, both leaders “agreed that a comprehensive political agreement is the only way to achieve peace, prosperity and security in Yemen”. Pompeo also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and pledged that “the U.S. stands with Saudi Arabia in the face of… threats [from Iran], as reflected in our greater military presence in Saudi Arabia”. View More 20 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “the Royal Saudi Air Defence intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia towards Saudi cities”. The following day, a Huthi military spokesperson claimed that they had “targeted Aramco and other sensitive targets in Yanbu”, Saudi Arabia. View More 20 February 2020 Speaking alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ambassador to country indicated that “the kingdom has done a tremendous amount to suppress Sunni Islamic extremism within their own borders, and they have been a great cooperation partner with us… Now what the next job is, at some point in history – hopefully soon – Shiite Islamic extremism led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force gets rolled back”. Discussing the aftermath of the September 2019 attack against Saudi oil facilities, he noted that the Saudis “naturally turned to us for support, and our support has been defensive. They’ve never asked for offensive support… the defensive posture is much improved not only for the U.S. but for Saudi Arabia. And so our ability to withstand something that might come from that direction is much improved, but it’s not perfect”. He further maintained that “the missiles that are being used and fired from Yemen by the Huthis are all coming from the Iranians… it’s really important for us to understand who is the aggressor in the region, and it’s no doubt it’s the Iranians”. View More 19 February 2020 Referring to weapon shipments seized by the U.S. forces in the Arabian Sea on November 2019 and February 2020, a spokesperson for the U.S. Central Command stated that “the U.S. assesses with high confidence that the weapons… were manufactured in Iran and were being illicitly smuggled to the Huthis in Yemen”. A senior U.S. defence official underscored that “the Pentagon continues to be committed to disrupting the transport of illicit weapons in the region and preventing Iran from spreading its malign influence”. The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, asserted that “Iran’s ongoing transfer of weapons to the Huthis violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions”. He added that “The international community should apply more pressure on Iran until it stops providing arms, training and funding to proxy groups in the gray zone. This includes by acting to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which, under the Iran deal, expires in October”. View More 16 February 2020 Discussing Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) proposal, President Rouhani noted that “some regional countries welcomed it well and some others have not yet given an explicit response, but we still believe that it is the regional states that must help establish peace. We stress that all countries must enjoy security and stability in the region”. On Yemen, Rouhani underlined that “the Yemeni issues must be resolved by the Yemenis themselves and the countries that are carrying out acts of aggression toward the country must stop it”. He also asserted that Iran “oppose[s] war”, while adding that “Americans are not looking for war either”. View More 15 February 2020 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan indicated that “we have a back channel [between Riyadh and the Huthis] and it’s not yet ready to move to the highest level”. “It’s making progress”, he added, maintaining that “we have seen some deterioration recently, but we are committed to moving it forward”. View More 15 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that the previous day a “Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado fighter jet crashed while conducting close air support to units of the National Army of Yemen”. The coalition subsequently indicated that it “holds the terrorist Huthi militia responsible for the lives and wellbeing of the [Tornado] air crew”. The following day the Huthis accused the coalition of conducting airstrikes in al-Jawf governorate in which “nearly 30 people were killed”; Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson condemned the strike. View More 13 February 2020 The U.S. contended that the UN Security Council’s Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen supported “the conclusion of the U.S., France, Germany, and the United Kingdom that Iran bears responsibility” for the 14 September attack on Saudi oil facilities, arguing that since then “Iran has continued its program of terrorism, nuclear extortion and destabilising behaviour”. “The Security Council,” the statement added, “now has less than 36 weeks until the October expiration of the UN arms embargo to renew sanctions forbidding the sale of certain weapons systems to Iran”. According to the UN report, “despite claims to the contrary, the Huthi forces are unlikely to be responsible for the [September 2019] attack, as the estimated range of the weapon systems used does not allow for a launch from Huthi-controlled territory. Nevertheless, a number of other attacks on Saudi Arabia can clearly be attributed to the Houthi forces”. The Panel also reported “the continued reception by Huthi forces of military support” and indicated that “some of those weapons have technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in the Islamic Republic of Iran”. View More 13 February 2020 U.S. Central Command announced that on 9 February, U.S. forces in the Arabian Sea “boarded a dhow in accordance with international law and discovered a large cache of weapons”, including “150 'Dehlavieh' anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM)” and other materiel “of Iranian design and manufacture”. View More 12 February 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Saudi counterpart in Washington and “discussed bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern, including the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilising behaviour”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, Pompeo highlighted “the importance of the U.S.-Saudi partnership in confronting the Iranian regime’s threats”, and both officials “expressed their concern over the recent violence in Yemen, including Huthi cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia, and they agreed on the need to swiftly return to de-escalation”. Pompeo also voiced “U.S. support for a political solution to the conflict facilitated by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths”. View More 6 February 2020 The White House revealed that “the U.S. conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri”. View More 2 February 2020 As a Japanese destroyer set sail for patrols in the Gulf of Oman and Bab al-Mandab, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscored that Japanese forces would “not come under [U.S.] command in military operations”, while sharing information on a daily basis. Iran’s embassy reiterated Tehran’s view that the “presence of foreign forces in the region will not contribute to security and stability”. View More 31 January 2020 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded to reports of a UN panel assessing that the Huthis had obtained materiel “similar to Iran’s” by contending that “all that glitters is not gold and any similar weapon is not necessarily as an Iranian weapon”. View More 29 January 2020 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that “in response to the air escalation of the aggression, the missile force and drone air force carried out specific operations targeting Aramco in Jizan, Abha, Khamis Mushait base and sensitive targets in the Saudi rear”. View More 28 January 2020 In a statement, the U.S. said it was “alarmed by renewed violence in Yemen”. It went on to urge “all parties to put the needs of the Yemeni people first and immediately return to restraint”, while asserting that “the Huthis must cease attacks on Saudi territory”. View More 18 January 2020 A missile strike against a Yemeni armed forces camp in Marib killed over a hundred and left dozens more injured; the Saudi government “expressed in the strongest terms… condemnation and denunciation of this sinful terrorist attack carried out by the Huthi militia”. View More 13 January 2020 The U.S. Maritime Administration issued a new advisory valid through November 2020 regarding commercial shipping in areas including the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz which noted that “multiple maritime threats have been reported in the geographic areas described above. Heightened military activity and increased political tensions in this region continue to pose serious threats to commercial vessels. Associated with these threats is a potential for miscalculation or misidentification that could lead to aggressive actions”. The advisory went on to caution that “Vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman may also encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning. Vessels have also reported bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships”. View More 8 January 2020 Media reports cited a confidential UN report assessing that “Huthi forces did not launch the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September 2019” because the missiles used in the attack did not “have a sufficient range to have been launched from Yemeni territory under the control of the Huthis”. “Abqaiq and Khurais were approached respectively from a north/northwestern and north/northeastern direction, rather than from the south, as one would expect in the case of a launch from Yemeni territory”, the report added. View More 6 January 2020 A U.S. maritime alert, active through 13 January, warned of “the possibility of Iranian action against U.S. maritime interests in the region”, specifying that “U.S. commercial vessels are advised to exercise caution and coordinate vessel voyage planning for transits of the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea with NCAGS (U.S. Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping)”. View More 2 January 2020 The head of the IRGC's Qods force, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that "at the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani”, adding that "Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region". Iran confirmed Soleimani’s death, and the IRGC said that four other Qods force members along with five Iraqis, notably including a senior Hashd official, were also killed in the operation. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei subsequently asserted that "enemies should bear in mind that the Islamic Republic of Iran will take tough revenge on criminals over the martyrdom of General Soleimani". View More 2 January 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that “six Saudi war prisoners arrived at King Salman Airbase”. View More 29 December 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson reportedly indicated that the “the armed forces of Yemen are fully prepared to strike nine strategic targets deep inside the territory of the aggressors, of which six are located in Saudi Arabia and the rest are in the United Arab Emirates”. View More 27 December 2019 Japan’s cabinet agreed to deploy a destroyer and two patrol planes off the Yemeni and Omani coasts. A senior Japanese official explained that “peace and stability in the Middle East is extremely important for the peace and prosperity of the international community including Japan… Also, it is very important to make sure Japan-related ships can sail safely in the Middle East, the world’s major source of energy”. View More 27 December 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that a “Badr-1P ballistic missile struck… a military camp for the Saudi army and its mercenaries in Najran”. View More 23 December 2019 The Huthi envoy to Tehran met with Iran’s defence minister, Amir Hatami. Hatami remarked that “Yemen has reached a level of military capability that can penetrate deep into the enemy’s front, target enemy strongholds from a distance of more than 1000km, create deterrence and disrupt military-political security equations in the region”. He also asserted that “Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere with the participation of all parties, groups and political-social currents is the only practical solution to the complicated problems in this country”. The following day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with a Huthi spokesperson during a visit to Oman. View More 23 December 2019 The Huthi envoy to Tehran met with Iran’s defence minister, Amir Hatami. Hatami remarked that “Yemen has reached a level of military capability that can penetrate deep into the enemy’s front, target enemy strongholds from a distance of more than 1000km, create deterrence and disrupt military-political security equations in the region”. He also asserted that “Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere with the participation of all parties, groups and political-social currents is the only practical solution to the complicated problems in this country”. The following day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with a Huthi spokesperson during a visit to Oman. View More 19 December 2019 The UN Security Council convened to discuss the implementation of resolution 2231 following the Secretary-General’s eight biannual report, with remarks from the U.S. and Iranian envoys. View More 11 December 2019 The State Department announced that “the U.S. is taking action against three Iranian entitles linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and sanctioning eight other entities that helped smuggle weapons from Iran to Yemen”. The statement noted that “to allow exporters of humanitarian goods to Iran sufficient time to find alternate shopping methods, the designations for IRISL [Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines] and E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd will have a brief wind-down period” of 180 days. View More 10 December 2019 Referring to the 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the UN Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that “at this time, it [ie, the UN] is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin”, while also noting that Huthi forces “have not shown to be in possession, nor been assessed to be in possession”, of the materiel employed during the operation. View More 10 December 2019 Addressing a GCC summit, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman remarked that “our region today is undergoing circumstances and challenges that call for concerted efforts to confront them, as the Iranian regime continues its hostile actions to undermine security and stability and support terrorism… [This] requires us to preserve the gains of our countries and the interests of our peoples, work with the international community to stop the interference of this regime, deal seriously with its nuclear program and the program to develop ballistic missiles and secure energy sources, safety of waterways and freedom of maritime navigation”. View More 10 December 2019 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister was cited as asserting that “the Iranian threat is a threat to everyone… There is an understanding by the GCC countries on the importance of dealing with the threat and confronting it in the necessary ways”. He also called on Iran to “change its behaviour in attacking ships in the Gulf, supplying militias with weapons, financing terrorism and destabilising countries”. View More 8 December 2019 A senior Huthi official indicated that “the [Huthi] Yemeni Armed Forces has completed all aspects of construction that qualify it for a comprehensive strategic attack that cripples the enemy's capabilities… [It] has a bank of naval and ground military targets for the Zionist enemy [ie, Israel], and we will not hesitate to hit it whenever the leadership decides”. View More 6 December 2019 A senior Saudi official opined that “Iran is a threat to the entire region and its aggression can no longer be tolerated”. He also underlined that “nobody is talking about a regime change in Iran. The solution is to have a negotiating table and agree on a better JCPOA, stop of interference into other countries and behaviours towards terrorism”. On Yemen, the senior official stated that “Yemen is of particular importance to us, and Iran’s intervention there is devastating. The only solution in Yemen is political, and the Huthis are the ones who started the war, not us… All Yemenis, including the Huthis, have a role in the future of Yemen”. View More 6 December 2019 Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif insisted that “Iran does not see any point in the continuation of the war and siege in Yemen, welcomes peaceful solutions and encourages all parties to move forward in this regard and supports initiatives that call for dialogue to restore prosperity to Yemen”. View More 5 December 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, indicated that “on November 25th, a U.S. warship conducted a flag verification boarding in international waters off the coast of Yemen. We interdicted a significant hoard of weapons and missile parts, evidently of Iranian origin”. “The vessel reportedly was heading to Yemen to deliver these weapons”, he added, contending that “the weapon components comprise the most sophisticated weapons seized by the U.S. Navy to date during the Yemen conflict”. Hook went on to argue that “this discovery is yet more proof of Iran’s efforts to inflame conflicts in the region by proliferating deadly weapons to its proxies. It is also further evidence of how Iran repeatedly violates the UN arms embargo”. Hook additionally stressed that “the Huthis’ de-escalation proposal, which the Saudis are responding to, shows that Iran clearly does not speak for the Huthis, nor have the best interests of the Yemeni people at heart. Iran is trying to prolong Yemen’s civil war to project power. Iran should follow the calls of its own people and end its involvement in Yemen”. He also announced a reward for information relating to “a Yemen-based high-ranking commander of the IRGC’s Qods force”. View More 4 December 2019 Speaking alongside U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that “we have been fortunate that President Trump has led a consistent policy of pressure against Iran. Iran is increasing its aggression as we speak even today in the region. They’re trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, from Iraq, from Syria, from Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen, and we are actively engaged in countering that aggression”. Netanyahu further maintained that “Iran’s aggression is growing, but its empire is tottering. And I say let’s make it totter even further”. Secretary Pompeo, citing unrest in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran, stated that “some of these are people that are seeking freedom and a reasonable way to live, and they recognise the threat that is posed by the kleptocrats that are running the Islamic Republic of Iran”. View More 3 December 2019 Meeting with the Omani foreign minister in Tehran, President Rouhani contended that “unfortunately, Europe and the U.S., despite what they say, are not interested in [the] establishment of peace in Yemen because they have been able to sell a great number of weapons”. He further asserted that "we should all attempt to put an end to the war in Yemen as soon as possible and establish stability and security in the country within the framework of Yemeni-Yemeni peace talks”. View More 2 December 2019 Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani, remarked that “continuation of this genocide [in Yemen] is only in favor of the enemies of the region, including the U.S. and the Israeli regime, and Saudi Arabia should surrender to the demand of the Yemeni nation and not to put the regional peace at further risk”. View More 28 November 2019 128 Huthi prisoners freed by the Saudi-led coalition arrived in Yemen, prompting a senior Huthi official to call it “a first practical step by the Saudis that builds trust”. View More 26 November 2019 The Saudi-led coalition’s spokesperson indicated that the coalition had “decided… to release 200 prisoners of the Huthi militia”. A senior Huthi official subsequently reacted by saying that “we welcome the news of the release of 200 captives by the American-Saudi-UAE coalition and its allies and we call for a halt to torture and employing coercive measures against the captives”. View More 24 November 2019 Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted that “Iran’s aggression in our region, and against us, continues. We are taking all necessary actions to prevent Iran from entrenching here in our region. This includes the activity necessary to thwart the transfer of lethal weaponry from Iran to Syria, whether by air or overland”. “We will also take action to thwart Iran's effort to turn Iraq and Yemen into bases for launching rockets and missiles against the State of Israel”, he added. Citing remarks by a senior U.S. defence official who had indicated that “it is very possible they [the Iranians] will attack again”, Netanyahu stated that “I can confirm that and I can also confirm to you that we are continuing our plans to thwart this aggression by various means”. View More 23 November 2019 Discussing the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie stressed that “Iran has been hindering freedom of navigation in and around the Strait of Hormuz over the past few months… Had Iran not undertaken those actions, had there been no threat to freedom of navigation, there might not have been a need for the IMSC”. “Since it has been operational”, McKenzie observed, “none of these actions have occurred”. He also remarked that “unfortunately, sometimes, the Iranian regime has proved itself to be the bully in the neighbourhood. The only way to stand up to a bully is to do it together”. McKenzie also opined that while Iran “may control the next step on the escalation ladder... I do not believe that even Iran conceives that they own the last step on the escalation ladder. And that is point that we should hold”. View More 23 November 2019 Discussing the 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a senior Saudi official indicated that “the results of the investigation will be revealed. What is absolutely clear is that these missiles and drones are Iranian-made, and the attack occurred from the north, not from the south. We hold Iran responsible for this. We expect the international community to take steps in order to extract the price from Iran”. He additionally posited that “the idea that perhaps engagement will cause the Iranians to change their behaviour has not worked in 40 years… The key to regional stability is deterrence”. “If Iran chooses to continue along its destructive path, sanctions should be increased, not reduced”, the official added. He also identified three principles by which Iran could, in his words, “become an accepted member of the international community”, namely: “abandon the principle of exporting the revolution, accept the sovereignty of nations and respect international law and the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries”. View More 20 November 2019 Iran’s naval chief indicated that “due to the current special security conditions in the Red Sea region, and insecurities caused by terrorist activities that threaten our shipping lines, the Iranian Navy has been giving serious attention to this region as an insecure body of water”. He also tallied that “we have so far dispatched 64 fleets to international waters to defend the country’s interests”. View More 20 November 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson was cited as asserting that “Yemeni army troops and allied fighters… are fully prepared to deliver a befitting response to the Tel Aviv regime [ie, Israel] in case the Israeli military launches an act of aggression”. View More 20 November 2019 King Salman expressed hope that the Riyadh Agreement would “open the door before broader understandings to reach a political solution to the crisis according to the three references and give room to the dear Yemeni people to foresee a future of security, stability and development”. View More 19 November 2019 Receiving the credentials of Yemeni Ansar Allah’s ambassador to Iran, President Rouhani commented that “today, aggressors and the Yemeni nation’s enemies have reached the conclusion that they cannot advance their goals by pressure and war, and this means that the Yemeni nation’s resistance has borne fruit”. “Iran”, he added, “believes in the righteousness of the people of Yemen and their revolution, and considers helping them in both fighting aggressors and negotiations as its religious duty”. View More 18 November 2019 The Huthis detained, and subsequently released, three vessels. Two of the ships were South Korean; the other was a Saudi tug. View More 9 November 2019 The Huthi leader, Abd-al-Malik al-Huthi contended that “our people will not hesitate to declare jihad against the Israeli enemy, and to launch the most severe strikes against sensitive targets in the occupied territories if the enemy engages in any folly against our people”. He further maintained that “we reaffirm our anti-Israel position and that the regime is occupying one. This is a principled humanitarian, moral and religious commitment”. View More 7 November 2019 The U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct inaugurated the Coalition Task Force (CTF) Sentinel headquarters in Bahrain. A senior U.S. naval official characterised the operation as “an important multinational maritime effort to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation in light of recent events in the Arabian Gulf”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson subsequently contended that “history shows that the American coalitions have been nothing but misnomers, which have not only not created security so far, but have resulted in further insecurity and instability in different parts of the world… the U.S. move to hide its objectives and dreams behind the names of a few other countries signifies the weakness and lack of international legitimacy”. “As the country with the longest coastline by the Persian Gulf”, he added, “the Islamic Republic of Iran will vigorously keep protecting its economic and security interests, including the navigation security and safety in the body of water”. View More 6 November 2019 Israeli President Reuven Rivlin contended that “Iran continues to spread terror throughout the region. It continues to build military bases and plan attacks from Syria, and other parts of the region, Lebanon and even Yemen”. “Our enemies”, he added, “must know the state of Israel will do everything needed to defend its citizens”. View More 5 November 2019 Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council signed the Riyadh Agreement. The U.S. hailed the accord, stating that “we are hopeful that with this agreement, the parties will work together to end the conflict and to achieve the peace and stability that Yemen’s people deserve”; Secretary of State Pompeo thanked Saudi Arabia for its role and in a meeting with a senior Saudi official also talked about “the need to continue countering the Iranian regime’s destabilising behaviour”. Referring to the Riyadh Agreement, Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson contended that “signing such documents will by no means help settle the problems or Yemen, and it will contribute to stabilisation of occupation of southern Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies, directly or through their proxy forces”. He added that “the next step is holding Yemeni-Yemeni talks”. View More 1 November 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, emphasised that “[Iran] would like to turn the Huthis into their proxy right on Saudi’s southern border so that they’re able to attack at will through the Houthis, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE”. Referring to the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities, Hook stated that “it was a mistake for the Huthis [to claim credit]. I think they recognised it. They were embarrassed by it. They were surprised by it. So we’ll use this opening to press our advantage. And that’s why I think we’re seeing some positive developments in Yemen”. View More 1 November 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that the Huthis had shot down a U.S. drone in Asir province. View More 1 November 2019 The U.S. State Department in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2018 found that “throughout 2018, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS-Yemen, Hizbollah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and other Iran-backed terrorist groups continued to exploit the political and security vacuum created by the ongoing conflict”. View More 31 October 2019 Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that “the area around us is stormy and restive. Threats lurk in every corner – in Syria, in Lebanon, in the Gaza Strip, as well as in Iraq, Yemen and directly in Iran. Where not? Iranian and pro-Iranian forces are relentlessly arming themselves”. He went on to assert that “we are prepared for the threats and will not hesitate to strike harshly at anyone who tries to attack us. Iran’s threshold of daring in the region is rising and it grows even more in the absence of a response. However, Israel will not turn the other cheek. Whoever is bent on aggression – will meet with a vigorous response, and will pay a heavy price”. View More 28 October 2019 Prime Minister Netanyahu contended that “Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons. It’s transgressing on its agreement and commitment. Iran wants to develop precision guided missiles that can hit any target in Israel within five to ten meters. It’s doing that. Iran wants to use Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen as bases to attack Israel with statistical missiles and precision-guided missiles.” He went on to assert that “to ward off this danger… you have to be strong militarily. And to be strong militarily, we have to shift now money from the civilian areas to the military areas”. View More 28 October 2019 Speaking alongside U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Prime Minister Netanyahu argued that “Iran is seeking to develop now precision-guided munitions, missiles that can hit any target in the Middle East with a circumference of five to ten metres. They are developing this in Iran. They want to place them in Iraq and in Syria, and to convert Lebanon’s arsenal of 130,000 statistical rockets to precision-guided munitions. They seek also to develop that, and have already begun to put that in Yemen, with the goal of reaching Israel from there, too”. He further asserted that “Iran is the single greatest threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”, and urged Mnuchin “to put even more” sanctions on Iran. View More 26 October 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with a senior Huthi official in Tehran, and reportedly expressed “Iran’s support for establishing a truce in Yemen and holding intra-Yemeni dialogue”. View More 17 October 2019 A senior U.S. diplomat met with the President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and other officials in the international recognised government of Yemen in Riyadh. The U.S. official “reaffirmed U.S. support for the unity of Yemen” and “stressed that a political solution is the only path to a peaceful, prosperous, stable and unified Yemen”. View More 16 October 2019 Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani argued that “any measure which exacerbates insecurity and increases crisis in the region should be halted immediately… the regional crises, including the Syria and Yemen crises, have no military solution and they should be settled through diplomacy and Syrian-Syrian and Yemeni-Yemeni talks”. View More 13 October 2019 In a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Rouhani noted that “foreign interference will add to the insecurity. The first step to ease tensions in the region is to establish a cease-fire in Yemen and end attacks on the innocent Yemenis, and Iran supports any attempt in this regard”. He further argued that “to resolve regional issues, we require changing strategies towards political dialogue with goodwill, security-building and developing regional cooperation… relying on terrorists, the Zionist regime [i.e. Israel], and the U.S. has no fruit except for more tension and damages to Islamic countries and regional nations, and does not guarantee security for any country and the region”. Rouhani also stated that “sustainable security and peace in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz can only be achieved through the participation of regional states”, adding that “Iran is always ready for dialogue and cooperation with all countries in the region”. Rouhani went on to posit that “the U.S.’ request for negotiation without preconditions is not an honest move with sanctions in place… we are ready to negotiation within the framework of the JCPOA if sanctions are lifted”. View More 13 October 2019 Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, remarked that “Iran has proposed a four-article plan for finishing the war on Yemen since a long time ago. The end of this war can have positive effects on the region”. He also reiterated that “Iran has never been the initiator of any war, but if any country begins a war against Iran, it will undoubtedly regret it”. View More 9 October 2019 Referring to 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, Saudi Aramco's Chief Executive contended that “an absence of international resolve to take concrete action may embolden the attackers and indeed put the world's energy security at greater risk”. View More 8 October 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that “in a situation where the Saudis would like to negotiate with Iran, if they pursue regional issues at the negotiating table and not by killing people, they will certainly have the Islamic Republic along with them”. View More 4 October 2019 The Saudi-led coalition reported that two Huthi ballistic missiles landed inside Yemeni territory. View More 1 October 2019 Iran's military chief of staff indicated that Iran was providing the Huthis "advisory and intellectual assistance and the IRGC is in charge of this". He also asserted that "we will stand by the Yemeni people until they completely ward off the aggressions". View More 30 September 2019 An Iranian official indicated that the Saudis “have sent messages to Mr. Rouhani through a head of state… we must see signs of it [goodwill] without any ambiguity, and the first sign of it is to stop the aggression against Yemen and put an end to the massacre of Yemenis”. He added that “if they genuinely sought to change their behaviour, we would welcome that”. View More 30 September 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson announced that “Iran welcomes the Yemeni National Salvation Government’s proposal and considers it to be in favour of the establishment of stability and security in the region”. He went on to say that “sadly, Saudi Arabia is still seeking to fan the flames and continues to bombard different parts of Yemen” and called on “the Saudi government to accept this offer”. A senior Saudi official subsequently indicated that "the Kingdom did not and will not talk with the Iranians. Yemen is the affair of the Yemenis... and the reason behind the Yemeni crisis is the Iranian destabilising role of its stability and disruptive role in the political efforts". He also contended that Iran "provides its followers with weapons and missiles targeting the sons of Yemen and the security of the Kingdom and the countries of the region as part of the approach of this expansionist regime seeking to impose its control on Arab countries through its militias". He additionally advised Iran to "stop your support for terrorism, policies of chaos and destruction, interference in the internal affairs of Arab states, development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program. Act like a normal state and not a rogue one supporting terrorism". View More 29 September 2019 A senior IRGC official asserted that “Yemen’s deterrent power in the face of enemies has become clear after the reactions to Al Saud’s attacks, and the enemies are also mindful that they will be harmed if they take any action against that country”. View More 28 September 2019 In his address to the UN General Assembly, Bahrain’s foreign minister remarked that “the adoption of the Iranian regime of transitional terrorism has created networks of terrorist organisations and extremist militias, located in many places and different parts of the world such as Syria, Yemen, North Africa, the countries of the Sahara and the Sahel, South America and others. This requires us to intensify our efforts and enhance collective cooperation in order to eliminate them and prevent their return in any form”. He also applauded “the decisive course taken by the friendly U.S. in confronting Iran and its affiliates in the region, through exerting maximum pressure and imposing strict sanctions”. He went on to assert that “global energy supplies and maritime navigation in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the region as a whole are severely threatened by the behaviour of the Iranian regime and its frequent targeting of commercial vessels in the region”, adding condemnation of the 14 September attacks on Saudi energy facilities “which Iran bears responsibility for”. View More 26 September 2019 Referring to the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo argued that Iran “took an act clearly, highly attributable. They had to know that the world would determine that it was them that conducted this strike. They didn’t use their usual method of trying to obscure this through use of a proxy force”. He added that “they had to know it was the case that the world would rally against them, and yet they still chose to do it”. View More 26 September 2019 President Rouhani remarked that “the Yemeni people have a right to self-defence and they have to defend themselves, and the whole world knows that the Yemeni forces and the Yemeni army have both long-range missiles and drones”. Rouhani went on to “urge the U.S., France, Britain and Germany, who are constantly giving arms to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to kill the Yemeni people, to stop sending weapons and to pressurise Saudi Arabia and the UAE for peace”. View More 25 September 2019 IRGC Commander Hossein Salami argued that “our power is such that when a group like Ansar Allah carries out an operation, the enemy thinks it has been done by us”. He added that the Huthis were “a mutated branch of the revolution…They are an accumulated source of power that, if released, will change the whole battlefield and the enemy knows this reality”. View More 24 September 2019 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman argued that the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities “didn’t hit the heart of the Saudi energy industry, but rather the heart of the global energy industry”, adding that the Iranians carried out the operation because of “stupidity. There is no strategic goal… the only strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did”. Bin Salman also stated that “if the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests. Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven't seen in our lifetimes”. Bin Salman also posited that a “political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one”, while asserting that “it is the Iranians who don’t want to sit at the table” with President Trump. On Yemen, Bin Salman stated that “if Iran stops its support of the Huthi militia, the political solution will be much easier”. View More 24 September 2019 A senior U.S. official stated that “we are, to the extent possible, talking with the Huthis to try and find a mutually agreeable negotiated solution to the conflict in Yemen. We have been talking to the Huthis for some time and we will continue to do so at increasingly higher levels”. He added that “the Huthis are a significant part of the problem in Yemen, but they necessarily will be part of the solution”. View More 24 September 2019 A senior Saudi official contended that “we are certain it [the 14 September attack on Saudi energy facilities] came from the north. Once the investigation is complete, we will make the announcements and we will pin the blame. But we believe Iran is responsible because these were Iranian weapons”. He went on to say that “our position is we have to be firm with Iran. We have to come up with options on how we increase the pressure on the Iranians. You have a whole list of potential options: diplomatic, economic and military”. The official added that “the Iranians are warmongering, not us. The Iranians are the ones who launched 260 ballistic missiles on Saudi Arabia and more than 150 drones. We did not launch any ballistic missiles, any drones. We did not plant any terrorist cells in Iran and we didn’t even fire one bullet in the direction of Iran… so we’re on the receiving end”. View More 24 September 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted three Huthi missiles inside the Yemeni airspace. View More 23 September 2019 In a statement, France, Germany, and the UK jointly “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais”. They further declared that “it is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details”. The E3 also urged Iran “to reverse its decisions to reduce compliance with the deal and to adhere fully to its commitments under it”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded that the “E3's paralysis in fulfilling their obligations without U.S. permission has been clear since May 2018”. He added that the “solution to this deficiency is mustering will to forge an independent path—not parroting absurd U.S. claims and requests inconsistent with the JCPOA”. Zarif went on to posit that there would be “no new deal before compliance with the current one”.In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry contended that “attributing the responsibility to the third government for an attack carried out in the course of a full-scale war between the Saudi and Yemeni sides is per se a provocative and extremely destructive move”. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo responded by saying that “the U.S. thanks our close friends, UK, France, and Germany, for their clear articulation of Iran’s sole responsibility for the act of war against Saudi Arabia and its impact on the region and the world… this will strengthen diplomacy and the cause of peace”. View More 22 September 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif described the U.S. decision to bolster its forces in Saudi Arabia as “posturing”, and added that he was “confident that Iran did not play a role” in the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities. Zarif also noted in passing that “the Israelis are attacking parts of [the] Iraqi military”. He went on to state that “we’re ready to talk [with President Trump]… we need to talk about something that is permanent. That would last”. Zarif additionally warned that “I’m not confident that we can avoid a war… I’m confident that we will not start one but I’m confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it”. View More 22 September 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo asserted that the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities “was an attack by Iran on the world. This was an act of war”. He went on state that “apparently, the Iranians are bloodthirsty and looking for war. President Trump and I, we’re looking for a diplomatic resolution to this… but make no mistake about it: we’re prepared to do the things we need to do to try to deter Iran from this kind of behaviour”. Pompeo added that sanctions “will deny them the resources to foment the exact kind of strikes that we have seen over this past summer”, and also contended that the Iranian people “will demand that their leadership behave in a way that reflects the great history of this place”. View More 21 September 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif argued that “since the Saudi regime has blamed Iran – baseless as that is – for the [14 September] attacks on its oil facilities, curious that they retaliated against Hodeida in Yemen today—breaking a UN ceasefire. It is clear that even the Saudis themselves don't believe the fiction of Iranian involvement”. View More 20 September 2019 U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper asserted that “in recent months, Iran has increased its military activity through direct attacks and support to its proxies in the region”, adding that “all indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack” against Saudi energy facilities on 14 September. Esper announced that “in response to the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia’s] request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focussed on air and missile defence. We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves”. View More 20 September 2019 Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah remarked that “Saudi Arabia is highly advised to stop the war on Yemen instead of seeking to purchase advanced air defence missile systems. All costly weapons purchased [from] the U.S. cannot protect you from [Huthi] drone attacks”. Nasrallah added that “a military aggression on Iran will never be to the benefit of Saudi Arabia and the UAE”.