Tehran denies Iranian national killed in Yemen

August 22, 2021 - 21:33

TEHRAN – Iran has dismissed remarks by a member of the resigned government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi claiming that an Iranian national has been killed in Yemen, calling it “basically false.”

In a statement on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said there is no Iranian military advisor in Yemen to be killed by the invaders' bombardments.

The statement came after Moammar Al Eryani, minister of information in the resigned government of Hadi, claimed that an Iranian military expert named Haidar Sirjan along with nine others, was killed during an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition forces in Serwah, Marib. The alleged killing of the Iranian expert, Al Eryani claimed, “confirms [the] level of Iran involvement & destabilizing role to Yemen security & stability.”

He alleged on Twitter that Sirjan “is specialized in infantry & mountain infantry, & in preparing tactical combat plans served on the West Coast fronts until June 5, 2021, and on June 7 he was dispatched to Marib fronts to replace the deceased Mustafa Al-Gharawi of Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Al Eryani also accused Iran of sending “hundreds” of military experts to Yemen, leading military operations on the ground, and smuggling various types of weapons. He also called on the international community to take a “firm stand” against Iran. 

Khatibzadeh strongly rejected these accusations. “Such baseless remarks will not change the reality on the ground in Yemen about the cowardly attacks of the self-proclaimed coalition against the oppressed people of Yemen and their determination to face the aggression,” he noted.

The spokesman expressed regret that those individuals who consider themselves Yemenis are now encouraging and backing the aggressors in their oppression caused by the blockade and war against the people of their own country.

Iran has long called on Saudi Arabia to end its aggression against Yemen and let the Yemenis determine their future. But Saudi Arabia paid no attention to Iran’s calls. And it is still pursuing a military solution to the Yemen crisis, according to previous remarks by Khatibzadeh. 

In the current month Khatibzadeh expressed regret that Saudi Arabia still pursues a military solution to the Yemen crisis, saying that this approach will result in nothing other than death and destruction. 

Khatibzadeh urged Riyadh to abandon the military solution and instead seek political ways to put an end to the devastating war in Yemen.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing, the spokesman said, “It is unfortunate that the Saudi government is still looking for a military solution for Yemen although it knows and it has understood after a long time that war has no other result than killing innocent and civilian people and harming the nations of the region and the security of the region.”

He added, “The sooner the Saudi government shows its commitment to political solutions and ends this devastating war, the better for both this country and the region, and the peace and security of the region.”

Responding to a question about the talks with Saudi Arabia and their latest status and whether Riyadh is waiting for the formation of a new government in Iran, he said, “Talks with Saudi Arabia have been held in several rounds on bilateral, regional and international issues and important questions for both sides. Important questions were brought up for discussion for both sides.”

“We, in Iran, think that in a way based on dialogue and settlement of issues between us, we can reach a common view on some issues. Of course, differences between the two countries, as the case with many other countries, do not need to be resolved in one place and may never be resolved,” Khatibzadeh pointed out.

He added, “But we think that if Saudi Arabia pays due attention to the message of the Islamic Republic of Iran that our region is a region that only regional arrangements between the countries of the region can bring it to a comprehensive and lasting solution, we think these talks will arrive at a good point.”

The spokesman also voiced Iran’s readiness to cooperate with the new UN envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg.

“As the Islamic Republic of Iran, we have had extensive cooperation with the United Nations, and we will certainly continue to work closely with the UN Special Representative, who is a well-known figure to us,” Khatibzadeh said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has named Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg as his new Yemen envoy after a delay of several weeks as China considered whether to approve the appointment, which needed the consensus of the Security Council.

The 15-member council approved Grundberg as a replacement for Martin Griffiths, who became the UN aid chief after trying to mediate an end to the conflict in Yemen for the past three years, according to an Al Jazeera report.

Khatibzadeh expressed hope that the new UN envoy would be able to put an end to the Yemen war in line with international law, previous agreements, and honoring the Yemeni people’s rights. 

“We hope that the new envoy will be able to end this devastating war within the framework of international law and previous agreements and respect for the rights of the Yemeni people, and we will certainly do our best to help the new envoy,” Khatibzadeh noted.

He added, “Of course, it is natural that the change of envoy will not be fruitful in itself unless it is accompanied by a change of approach in the countries that are currently at war with the Yemeni people, whether countries that are directly at war with the Yemeni people or countries such as Britain, which exploit this situation and continue to sell their weapons to the aggressor countries.”