State Department Spokesperson John Kirby Comments on Iran's Supply of Weapons to Houthis in Yemen (Excerpts)

October 24, 2016

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile
  • Military

Related Country: 

  • Yemen


QUESTION: The Secretary’s meeting with the Saudi foreign minister today comes at a time where reports published today that Iran is increasing its supplies of missiles to the Houthis via the border of Oman. Are you unhappy that the Saudis – that Oman is not taking strong measures to prevent these smugglings?

MR KIRBY: So let me back this up. I mean, we’re aware that Iran provides lethal support to the Houthis. We have regularly and routinely called on regional actors to de-escalate the tensions in Yemen and the region, including abiding by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the ceasefire, which both the – all parties have said they would support.

We’ve also repeatedly raised our concerns that Iran is providing lethal aid to the Houthis in Yemen, including at the UN, when dhows smuggling Iranian weapons to the Houthis were interdicted at sea.

So we have been, I think, very clear – again, without getting into specifics of diplomatic discussions, we’ve been very clear about our concerns with all of the partners in the region, including Oman, regarding the risks that these weapons used in these kinds of attack pose to maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and also the risks that future incidents could inadvertently expand the conflict in Yemen. And particularly at this very delicate time, when we have a ceasefire budding here and a real chance to get the political talks back on track.