Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeated his call to “cut vital lifelines” to Israel following renewed airstrikes by the US and the UK on the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen after their attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
Khamenei criticized the stances of some Islamic leaders, deeming their calls for a Gaza ceasefire as “inappropriate.”
Speaking to supporters in Tehran, he argued that Muslim countries should refrain from advocating for a ceasefire, as that is “beyond their control.”
“Some of the positions and statements of the officials of Islamic countries are wrong because they talk about issues like a ceasefire in Gaza, which is beyond their control and is in the hands of the evil Zionist enemy,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying.
Moreover, he urged Islamic nations to take actions that are “in their control,” specifically calling for the severing of political and economic ties with Israel.
This isn’t the first time Iran makes a call to halt trade with Israel. In early November, an influential Iranian figure called for obstructing oil and food exports to Israel.
On November 19, Khamenei stated that regional countries should sever political relations “for a limited period at least.”
On the same day, the Houthis seized the “Galaxy Leader” commercial ship. Israel promptly denied any connection to the vessel.
Iran is wary of direct involvement in a conflict with the US and accuses Israel of trying to pull it into a war as it wages its assault on Gaza. Nonetheless, Iranian officials defend armed groups engaged in proxy warfare on Tehran’s behalf in the region.
In New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov’s discussions focused on Gaza, Syria, and the “tense situation” in the Red Sea.
Both ministers agreed on the urgent need for a Gaza ceasefire and outlined conditions for providing humanitarian aid to civilians.
IRNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian, saying that Iran had warned the US about its collaboration with the UK in the Red Sea against Yemen, calling it a threat to peace and security and a strategic mistake.
He stated that during the recent US and British attacks on Yemen, satellite images detected about 230 commercial and oil ships in the Red Sea.
This indicates that Yemenis have effectively communicated that only vessels heading to Israeli ports are the ones being stopped.
On Monday, US and British forces conducted new airstrikes in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site and their missile capabilities and surveillance assets.