Iran Rejects Claims it Sent Arms to Yemen

Iranian fishing ship headed to Yemen found filled with anti-tank shells, though Iran says accusations of it arming Houthis are 'baseless.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Iranian naval ships
Iranian naval ships

Iran rejected as "propaganda" on Thursday claims that a seized fishing boat loaded with weapons heading to Yemen was Iranian, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday that it had seized an Iranian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea loaded with weapons and destined for Shiite rebels it is fighting in Yemen.

A coalition statement said 14 Iranians as well as weapons including anti-tank shells were found on board, and that the boat's papers showed it was registered and licensed for fishing in Iran.

Despite the damning evidence, an Iranian foreign ministry source told IRNA that it was clear "these accusations and propaganda are psychological warfare and baseless."

"After the scandalous Mina tragedy, the coalition forces have resorted to a worn out and repetitious scenario," the source said, adding that Yemeni rebels don't need Iranian arms.

He was referring to this year's deadly hajj stampede, which killed 464 Iranian pilgrims and which Tehran has blamed on Saudi Arabia's "incompetence and mismanagement."

Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies have repeatedly accused their Shiite rival Iran of arming the Houthi rebels who control swathes of Yemen, including the capital.

In his speech before the UN General Assembly on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for a united front to fight extremists in the Middle East and said Tehran was ready to help "bring about democracy" in Syria and Yemen.

While, Iran has played a major role in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization in neighboring Iraq, it has also provided military advisors, weapons and trainers to both the Iraqi army and numerous terror groups - including Hezbollah and Hamas. 

AFP contributed to this report.