Aircraft joins strikes against Houthis
Aircraft joins strikes against HouthisReuters

Iran on Sunday took issue with US and British strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, saying they were seeking to "escalate tensions and crises" in the region, AFP reported.

On Saturday, American and British forces carried out fresh strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Yemen, in response to a wave of attacks by the Iran-backed group on Red Sea shipping.

"With such attacks, America and Britain seek to escalate tensions and crises in the region, and expand the scope of war and instability," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"Certainly, this kind of arbitrary and aggressive military operation, aside from aggravating insecurity and instability in the region, will not achieve anything for these aggressor countries," Kanani added.

He further condemned the United States and Britain for failing to "take immediate and effective action" to stop Israel's campaign in Gaza.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have upped their attacks on vessels since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

In the wake of the uptick in Houthi attacks, the US formed a coalition, made up of more than 20 countries, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in the Red Sea from attacks by the Houthis.

In mid-January, with support from other countries, the US and Britain targeted just under 30 Houthi locations with 150 different weapons. The two countries have continued to strike Houthi targets since.

The Houthis have been unfazed by the strikes and have vowed to continue to target ships in the Red Sea.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.

The US recently conducted a cyberattack against an Iranian military ship that was collecting intelligence on cargo vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

US officials said the operation was intended to inhibit the Iranian ship’s ability to share intelligence with Houthi rebels in Yemen.