Houthis vow to bolster Iran ties as Tehran's new Hezbollah-linked 'ambassador' makes appearance

Iran's representative, Hassan Eyrlo, (left) with the Houthis' self proclaimed foreign minister Hesham Sharaf Abdallah in Sanaa on Tuesday. (Handout)
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Updated 27 October 2020

Houthis vow to bolster Iran ties as Tehran's new Hezbollah-linked 'ambassador' makes appearance

  • Iran's representative, Hassan Eyrlo, is a member of the IRGC and has ties to Hezbollah

RIYADH: The Houthis said on Tuesday they wanted to strengthen ties with Iran as the militia's officials appeared with Tehran's new representative to the area of Yemen under their control.

The Houthis seized much of northern Yemen in 2014 after the militia forced the internationally-recognized government to flee the capital Sanaa.

The militia's self proclaimed foreign minister Hesham Sharaf Abdallah said it wanted to strengthen bilateral ties with Iran in various fields, the group's media outlets reported.

Iran's representative, Hassan Eyrlo, said Iran would make every effort to achieve peace in Yemen, as he presented his diplomatic credentials.

His arrival in Yemen this month has sparked anger both domestically and from abroad. 

Yemen’s foreign ministry last week wrote to the UN Security Council accusing the Iranians of violating “international law.”

The US said Eyrlo was a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and has links to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran has been the main supported of the Houthis, supplying them with weapons and money throughout the conflict.

The strategy is part of Tehran's region-wide approach of supporting proxy forces to gain influence in countries against its rivals.


Iran’s parliament advances bill to stop nuclear inspections

Updated 5 min 18 sec ago

Iran’s parliament advances bill to stop nuclear inspections

  • The vote to debate the bill was a show of defiance after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month
  • The official IRNA news agency said 251 lawmakers in the 290-seat chamber voted in favor
TEHRAN: Iran’s parliament Tuesday advanced a bill that would end UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and require the government to boost its uranium enrichment if European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal do not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions.
The vote to debate the bill, which would need to pas through several other stages before becoming law, was a show of defiance after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month.
The official IRNA news agency said 251 lawmakers in the 290-seat chamber voted in favor, after which many began chanting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
The bill would give European countries three months to ease sanctions on Iran’s key oil and gas sector, and to restore its access to the international banking system. The US imposed crippling sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement, triggering a series of escalations between the two sides.
The bill would have authorities resume enriching uranium to 20%, which is below the threshold needed for nuclear weapons but higher than that required for civilian applications. It would also commission new centrifuges at nuclear facilities at Natanz and the underground Fordo site.
The bill would require another parliamentary vote to pass, as well as approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog.
The bill was first tabled in parliament in August but gained new momentum after the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who headed a program that Israel and the West have alleged was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that “structured program” ended in 2003. US intelligence agencies concurred with that assessment in a 2007 report.
Israel insists Iran still maintains the ambition of developing nuclear weapons, pointing to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and research into other technologies. Iran long has maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Iran has blamed Fakhrizadeh’s killing on Israel, which has long waged a covert war against Tehran and its proxies in the region. Israeli officials have declined to comment on the killing, and no one has claimed responsibility.
Some Iranian officials have suggested that the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been regularly inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities in recent years as part of the 2015 agreement, may have been a source of intelligence for Fakhrizadeh’s killers.
Iran began publicly exceeding uranium enrichment levels set by the nuclear agreement after the US restored sanctions. It currently enriches a growing uranium stockpile up to 4.5% purity.
That’s still far below weapons-grade levels of 90%, though experts warn Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least two atomic bombs if it chose to pursue them.