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News number: 8809140422

14:38 | 2009-12-05

Foriegn Policy

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Larijani Questions Saudi Intentions of Launching Offensive in Yemen

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani questioned Saudi governments' intentions of entering the crisis in Yemen which has resulted in the death of innocent Muslims.

Larijani called into question the Saudi motive behind its offensive into northern Yemen, which he said had exacerbated the already worsening situation in Yemen.

"An unfair conflict has arisen in Yemen but I wonder how [our] Saudi brothers who are Muslim do such a thing. They are in fact … killing Muslims," Larijani said, citing negotiation as the only means to defuse the crisis in Yemen.

He advised the Riyadh government against "inciting division" among Muslims." If Saudis have rockets, why don't they use them against Israel but instead drop them on poor innocent people…the Saudi government is Islamic and should not excite division among Muslims."

Larijani reiterated that the Saudi involvement in Yemen fighting was a "seditious act instigated by the enemies of Islam."

He said Saudi Arabia had financially supported Saddam Hussein's attack against Iran in the 1980s for the simple reason that Iraqis were Arabs but now refuses to intervene in issues related to other Arab nations.

"We told them (Saudis) not to collaborate with Saddam's dictatorial regime but they retorted that Iraqis were Arabs. Why is it now that you don't intervene to help in Lebanon and Palestine considering that they are mostly Sunni [Arabs]? Why don't you confront the Zionist regime?" he retorted.

The Yemeni military has launched a major offensive, dubbed 'Operation Scorched Earth', against Houthi Shiites in the northern sector of the country.

The government accuses the fighters led by Abdul Malik al-Houthi of seeking to restore the imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962 coup.

The Houthis argue, however, that they are defending their rights against government marginalization, a policy which they believe has been adopted under pressure from Saudi-backed Wahhabi extremists.

Saudi Arabia has directly entered the military conflict by launching air raids in northern Yemen, alleging that Houthi fighters have killed some Saudi soldiers on the border.

Riyadh insists that it is targeting Houthi positions on 'Saudi territory', but the Shiite resistance fighters say Yemeni villages are being targeted with deadly phosphorous bombs, which cause massive injuries and are banned under the Geneva convention.

The Iranian government says it fully supports a united and stable Yemen and has offered to help the country resolve the crisis, which has so far killed, injured or displaced a large number of Yemeni Shiites.