Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Yemen Official Warns of Blast Worse than Beirut’s over Houthi Smuggling of Thorium to Iran

Yemen Official Warns of Blast Worse than Beirut’s over Houthi Smuggling of Thorium to Iran

Sunday, 16 August, 2020 - 04:45
Ships are seen at the Hodeidah port, Yemen, May 14, 2019. (Reuters)

The Yemen Coalition of Independent Women held a virtual seminar titled “Iranian intervention: A History of Disorder in The Arab Countries,” which tackled a variety of issues, including the Iran-backed Houthi militias’ smuggling of Thorium from Yemen to Iran.

Hodeidah Undersecretary Walid al-Qudaimi warned of the impending danger facing Yemen over the ongoing smuggling of the material.

Houthis are actively enriching Thorium extracted from Yemeni mountains and sending it to Iran for arms manufacture.

Qudaimi said that a blast worse than the one that took place at Beirut port on August 4, due to the explosion of highly-flammable ammonium nitrate, was in store for Yemen if the smuggling does not stop.

He said that Iranian proxies in the region like the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, Houthis and the Iraq-based Popular Mobilization Forces have resorted to using certain vulnerable countries to manufacture and store explosives, chemicals and missiles.

This is achieved under the supervision of Iranian experts.

“When we talk about Yemen, the catastrophe is very big and worse than we might expect,” he said, adding that Houthis control the ports of Hodeidah and use them to smuggle weapons and explosive materials of all kinds.

Most of these weapons and explosives are sent by Iran to help Houthi militias control Yemen and threaten neighboring Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia. They also use them to endanger maritime navigation in the Red Sea.

Qudaimi also tackled the FSO Safer oil tanker issue. Houthis have been obstructing efforts to perform maintenance work on board the derelict ship.

According to international reports, in the event of a leak or explosion in the floating reservoir, 1.1 million liters of crude oil will spill into the Red Sea.

This will cause serious damage to marine life, biodiversity and fish resources that cannot be compensated, in addition to the suspension of ports and international shipping lines in the region.

Editor Picks