Intervention by the U.S. and Iran in Yemen is raising the prospect of a proxy war even as the Obama administration tries to reach a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic – with Iran sending two ships to waters near Yemen, as the U.S. speeds up military aid to the Saudi-led coalition striking Tehran-backed rebels there.
Iran’s English-language state broadcaster Press TV quoted Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari as saying the ships, dispatched for the Gulf of Aden, would be part of an anti-piracy campaign “safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region.”
But the move comes amid the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, which Iran is accused of backing.
While the Pentagon has not yet weighed in on the ship movements, spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday: “We know that Iranians are providing support to the Houthis.”
The developments underscore the growing international tensions surrounding the chaotic fighting in Yemen, with the U.S. shoring up Saudi-led forces on one side and Iran allegedly backing the Houthis on the other – though Iran and the rebels deny any direct military assistance.
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