Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for an end to air strikes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and Arab allies, saying they could not succeed, and said countries in the region should work towards a political solution.
“A great nation like Yemen will not submit to bombing. Come, let us all think about ending war. Let us think about a ceasefire,” Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia and a coalition that includes four other Gulf Arab states have carried out air strikes against the Iran-allied Houthi movement for the past two weeks to try to drive them back from the southern city of Aden.
“Let us prepare to bring Yemenis to the negotiating table to make decisions about their future… Let us accept that the future of Yemen will be in the hands of the people of Yemen, not anyone else,” Rouhani said.
Coalition countries say they are supporting Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against an attempted coup by the Houthis and accuse Iran of arming the group, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nayahan both accused Iran of meddling in Yemen on Wednesday.
On the same day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Pakistan to work towards a political solution during a visit to Islamabad, after Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to join the coalition.