Tehran, May 14, IRNA – US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke has acknowledged that Washington was pursuing a double standard policy towards dispatching humanitarian aid to the world’s disputed areas including Yemen.
“We look to the UN to guide the international community on how to implement the humanitarian pause. Iran is no exception to this. So we support using established channels for assistance under the auspices of the UN, and we think this is the most effective way to do it. There’s no reason to go outside any of the regular, internationally recognized humanitarian systems during this humanitarian pause,” Rathke said while speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday,
Asked if the US has conveyed any direct message to Iran to this end, he said, “I think our position has been made pretty clear.”
Commenting on if the issue of Yemen was discussed with Iranians during the Vienna talks, the spokesman said, “…as we’ve said all along, the talks with Iran on the nuclear program are focused on the nuclear program.”
Asked if US was opposed in principle to the “notion of bilateral aid from the Iranians,” and if Tehran could, like Washington, provide its direct aid to a conflicted area outside the United Nations channels or aid agencies, Rathke said “Well again, I – we think that coordinating, first of all, for the – to ensure that there is efficiency and effective delivery of aid, also to maintain a picture of where the needs are, the UN humanitarian agencies need to have an understanding of the aid that’s going into the country and I don’t – it’s probably obvious that in this particular situation in Yemen with the violence over the last several weeks that it’s even more important that this humanitarian pause, it’s even more important to ensure that this humanitarian pause is implemented in a way that is sustainable and has the support of all the parties and sustains that support. So that’s why we think it is important to coordinate things through the UN.
“…but you’re not saying that you are opposed to the Iranians sending in their own shipments, are you?” asked the questioner.
“…here have been concerns about making sure that shipments that go into Yemen are for the purposes that – for which they’re declared. So certainly we have a concern, to make sure that shipments going to Yemen from Iran or from others that they be focused purely on humanitarian efforts. So we do have a concern there,” Rathke said.
When the spokesman faced another question about US opposition to Iran’s sending its own aid into Yemen, he said “…all shipments and deliveries need to be coordinated through the UN.”