Reuters has reported that the United States is increasingly concerned about supposed training by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, where they continue to make territorial gains in Saudi Arabia despite airstrikes its neighbor.
U.S. officials concluded without providing evidence that the IRGC are providing training and equipment to the Houthis.
The U.S. officials in question spoke in anonymity.
Saudi Arabia also expressed its view that not only Iran, but also Hezbollah, are providing training and arms to the Houthis.
“We see … Iran playing a large role in supporting the Houthis,” Saudi ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir told reporters on Thursday.
“There are Iranian advisers advising them and Hezbollah operatives advising them,” Jubeir said.
Asked about Jubeir’s accusations on Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters: “We’ve expressed our previous concerns about the destabilizing impact that Iran is having on this particular situation. We continue to have those concerns.”
A Houthi official told Reuters on Thursday that the group was prepared to confront the Saudi-led airstrikes without calling on Iran’s help.
“The Yemeni people are prepared to face this aggression without any foreign interference,” said Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi politburo official.
The Saudis “cannot accept the idea of an Iranian-backed regime in control of Yemen, which is why they felt compelled to intervene the way they have,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Friday during a visit to Washington.
“It’s no secret,” he said, that the Iranians “are providing assistance and support to the Houthis, both political as well as militarily, as well as economic.”
“The first thing the Houthis did when they entered and occupied Sanaa was to free Iranian Revolutionary Guards operatives and Hezbollah operatives from the jails,” he said.