Reducing Iran’s influence in Yemen can only be achieved through ending the war and bringing the fighting among rivals in the war-torn country to a halt, British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The diplomat went on to stress that Tehran is directly linked to spurring conflict in Yemen.
It is worth noting that Aron’s remarks come at a time when intensified regional and international efforts are being poured into finding a way to reach a comprehensive ceasefire and quickly rebooting political consultations among sparring Yemeni parties.
Saudi Arabia has recently tabled a wide-ranging initiative to bring peace to Yemen, deliver aid to its people and end the country’s six-year war. The plan calls for a nationwide ceasefire supervised by the UN, the reopening of Sanaa airport, and new talks to reach a political resolution to the conflict.
According to the Kingdom’s proposal, restrictions on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah would be eased, allowing access for ships and cargo. Income from the port, including taxes, would go to the central bank in Hodeidah in accordance with the UN-sponsored Stockholm agreement.
Aron, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, warned that Yemenis, including Iran-aligned Houthis, would eventually come to the realization that Tehran’s goals in Yemen were only to stir up trouble.
The envoy reiterated his belief in the possibility of separating the Houthis from Iran, saying even if the Iranians have influence over the Houthis, they do not control the group.
He also warned that Iran’s influence in Yemen will continue to grow so long the war is ongoing, stressing the importance of putting an end to the conflict.
Aron affirmed that ending violence in Yemen will automatically cull Iranian influence there.
Reaffirming that the battle-weary country has a true ally and friend in neighboring Saudi Arabia, Aron said that the Kingdom will employ its resources to help rebuild Yemen.
In a former interview, Aron had also warned against Houthis adopting an agenda to reshape Yemen’s Arab national identity through enforcing tailored curriculums at education institutions and recruiting child soldiers.
HE waned that the group’s continued control of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, presents a serious threat.
More so, Iran stood out from the rest of the international community by rejecting the Saudi peace initiative for Yemen. Despite the plan receiving great regional and international welcoming, Iran chose not to back the initiative.