Iran: US claims of attack role ‘suspicious’
Iran has strongly dismissed US accusations linking Tehran to alleged missile attacks on American warships in the Red Sea, denouncing the claims as “imaginary, whimsical, suspicious and baseless.”
The strong-worded rebuttal by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday came after the top US commander in the Middle East, Joseph Votel, said he thought Iran was playing a role in alleged missile launches.
“The contradictory and incomprehensible remarks by American officials in the past few days are incompatible, laced with paranoia, and inappropriate and a sign of their bewilderment,” Qassemi said.
Last week, the US claimed that its warships had been fired upon at least twice in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, blaming Houthis for the alleged attack. A US destroyer then launched missile attacks against Yemen and destroyed three radar sites.
Yemeni officials have rejected the allegations as “unfounded” aimed at providing a pretext for the intelligence and logistics support which the US has provided to Saudi Arabia in its military campaign.
US accusations came in the wake of a Saudi aerial attack on a funeral which killed more than 140 people attending a wake for the father of Yemen’s interior minister in the capital Sana’a.
Some observers said US allegations of Yemeni attacks on its warships aimed to turn away attention from the Sana’a carnage and reduce pressure on Washington over its aid to the Saudis.
Votel went even further on Wednesday, telling a Washington think tank that “some of the technology that we’ve seen there are things that are associated with” Iran.
“The American military, which through its direct and indirect aid to coalition forces, has an irrefutable role in the atrocities against the Yemeni people, had better prevent further crime and bloodshed and put an end to the massacre of defenseless and oppressed people by its allies instead of accusing others,” Qassemi said.
“The American government meanwhile has to watch out for measures by those who have been struggling in the Yemen war quagmire following a barbaric and imposed aggression,” he said.
Those sides, Qassemi said, “in their illusion to avoid a humiliating defeat and save themselves, are seeking to escalate tensions and drag others to the fruitless war in Yemen.”
Washington, along with Britain and France, has been a major supplier of lethal weapons, intelligence and logistics support to Saudi Arabia, which has been attacking its impoverished southern neighbor since March 2015.
In a televised speech last Thursday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik Badreddin al-Houthi warned of US plans to launch a military aggression against Yemen, calling on the nation and armed forces to remain vigilant and prepared to face the invaders.
“The US is after laying the groundwork for making an invasive move against Hudaydah Province,” he said of the western coastal region.
The United Nations says since the Saudi aggression started, almost 6,900 people have been killed, more than half of them civilians. Local sources say the civilian death toll stands over 10,000.