Source of the photo: www.tehrantimes.com
Iran has agreed to ceased weapons shipments to the Houthist in Yemen in light of the recent agreement to restore diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been on opposing sides in the conflict in Yemen, but now the renewed bilateral relations could bring peace in the region.
Hans Grundberg, UN special envoy for Yemen, arrived in Tehran soon after the announcement of Saudi-Iran reconciliation. Grundberg hold talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and expressed his support in negotiations that would eventually establish stability in the war-torn country of Yemen. He believes that “ending the conflict in Yemen is important for enhancing regional security.”
He also urged Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Houthis to “seize the opportunity” created by the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia that has opened the way to achieve long-term stability.
Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations after seven years of tensions caused by the execution of a leading Shiite cleric figure in Saudi Arabia. In the next two months, the countries should reopen their embassies. The deal is expected to put an end to Iran’s interference in Yemeni affairs.
The UN inspectors and western governments have blamed Iran for providing weapons to the Houthi rebels, as a large number of Yemen’s ships carrying Iranian armament were intercepted in the Red Sea. Iran has always denied claims that they provide any kind of military support.
Special US envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, paid a visit to Riyadh and met with Saudi officials in an attempt to enhance diplomatic efforts to revive the country’s stalled peace progress and to promote a Yemeni-led political process.
Lenderking believes that the settlement from last week between Iran and Saudi Arabia backed by China could also boost the efforts to extend an expired ceasefire agreement from October as well as it would “help start a national dialogue, and form an inclusive national government in Yemen.” He mentioned specifically Oman and Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis in Yemen.
The Amarican diplomat’s visit took place as the warring parties in Yemen, the government and Houthi rebels were discussing a prisoner release deal in Switzerland before the start of Ramadan. The talks were orchestrated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN representative for Yemen, Hans Grundberg.
The last significant prisoner swap occurred in 2020. The on-going discussion in Switzerland are meant to last 11 days. Things might change as the possibility of a settlement in the near future in Yemen is strengthened by the recent restoration of Saudi-Iran relations.
The Saudi-backed Yemeni government believe that peace won’t come until Iran changes its behavior and the Houthis put down their weapons. Mohamed Abdulsalam, the rebels’ spokesperson and chief negotiator agreed that the region needs the return of normal relations between its countries.
Cutting off Houthis’ access to weapons provided by Iran should put pressure on the rebels’ group to agree to enter into peace negotiations with the Internationally Recognized Government of Yemen (IRG) to obtain a political settlement and to create the conditions for improving the situation of the country which is currently suffering from one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
The war in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthis took control of Sanaa, the capital of the country, pushing the government into exile. An arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015 in an effort to reestablish the internationally recognized government.
The deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia is considered to be “a positive first step” in pushing forward efforts to resolve the on-going conflict in Yemen and to secure a viable solution for a peaceful future in the region. The Saudi-Iran agreement could result in a considerable decrease in Tehran’s support.
China is now a key player in the region. It has positive relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran which could enhance cooperation and security with other countries from the Gulf. One of the most challenging subjects during talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia was Yemen-related issues.
Officials from Iran made clear their desire to solve the conflicts through dialogue and negotiations. The re-establishment of diplomatic relations that have created hostilities not only in the Gulf states, but all around the Middle East might end once with the emergence of China as a mediator.