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US Blamed Over Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
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US Blamed Over Saudi Atrocities in Yemen

Iran on Sunday blamed the United States for "atrocities" in Yemen due to its support for Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition fighting Tehran-backed Houthi fighters.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said a White House statement on Friday in support of Riyadh "clearly and without question proves America's participation and responsibility in the atrocities committed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen."

In its statement, Washington had said it was "committed to supporting Saudi Arabia ... against Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' [alleged] aggression and blatant violations of international law", AFP reported.

Regional heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia back opposing sides in conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

They cut diplomatic relations in January 2016 after Iranian protestors stormed Saudi diplomatic missions in reaction to Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shia cleric without due process. Early November, Riyadh accused Tehran of "direct aggression" after Saudi forces intercepted a missile fired by Houthi forces toward Riyadh's international airport.

But Qasemi denied that Iran has "any military connection with Yemen", although Tehran says it supports the Houthis politically and denounces Saudi Arabia for bombing civilians.

Accusing Washington of making "totally unfounded" allegations, Qasemi said its statement on Friday showed it "openly supports ... appalling atrocities" by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

The Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi after the Houthis ousted him.

Last month, the United Nations put the coalition on its blacklist for killing and maiming 683 children during the conflict last year and carrying out 38 verified attacks on schools and hospitals.

An international aid group said on Nov. 15 an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease, AP reported.

Save the Children added that a continuing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition is likely to further increase the death rate. It said over 50,000 children are believed to have died in 2017 alone.

A report published in mid-November by the Congressional Research Service showed that Riyadh had signed arms deals worth more than $65 billion with the United States between 2009 and 2016.

"Since 2015, the US-trained Saudi military has used US-origin weaponry, US logistical assistance and shared intelligence in support of military operations in Yemen," it said.

 

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