Political Analysis

Iran ‘contributed’ to collapse of Yemen government: Kerry

National Yemen

John Kerry

WASHINGTON: Iran’s support for Houthi rebels in Yemen “contributed” to the militia’s takeover of the Yemeni capital and the collapse of the government, top US diplomat John Kerry said Tuesday.

Speaking to U.S. lawmakers, Kerry agreed Tehran’s support for the Houthi militia was “critical” in shoring up the rebels.

Asked whether the Yemeni government collapsed because of Iran’s support for the Houthi, Kerry replied: “I think it contributed to it .. without any question whatsoever.”

“But I do know that the Iranians were surprised by the events that took place and are hoping to see a national dialogue” take place,” Kerry told the Senate appropriations committee, at the start of two days of intense budget hearings.

Kerry met Sunday and Monday in Geneva with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, but acknowledged he had had “brief conversations” on other topics.

Kerry revealed he planned to meet Friday with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in London to discuss the crisis in Yemen among other issues.

The United States closed down its embassy in Yemen earlier this month, along with France and Britain, amid growing concerns about insecurity in the country.