Earlier, President Biden announced the end of support for Saudi-led coalition operations
The UN special envoy for Yemen arrived in Iran for the first time to discuss the crisis in Yemen, Iranian state television reported Saturday. This came days after Washington announced it was cutting off support for ongoing combat operations in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.
The coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, supporting government forces fighting Houthi rebels backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia and Iran are vying for influence in the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen.
“U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit during which he will meet with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranian officials,” Iranian state television said in a report.
Griffiths’ office said the visit is part of his diplomatic efforts to support a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. The office said in a press release that the diplomat’s first priority is to support an agreement between the warring sides for a cease-fire, urgent humanitarian measures and a resumption of the political process.
Griffiths spokeswoman Ismini Palla said preparations for the visit began some time ago. She noted that it comes amid efforts by the special envoy to gain additional diplomatic, regional and international support for his efforts to end the war.
“Griffiths will hold consultations with Iranian officials on easing the suffering of the Yemeni people,” Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.
On Saturday, Iran welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision on Thursday to end support for offensive operations in the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. Tehran viewed the decision as “a step toward correcting the mistakes of the past.”
Asked by CNN whether the U.S. decision would give the U.S. an opportunity to end the war in Yemen, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “I certainly hope so. The United States should, in good faith, be tough on its allies and demand that they stop these atrocities. They will never win in Yemen.”
Washington said Friday that it intends to reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization because of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the United Nations says 80 percent of the population needs help.