Addressing a ceremony in the Northeastern city of Mashhad this morning, Brigadier General Nasser Sha’bani, a former commander of the IRGC, said Iran has bonds with nations in the region, “but some western and hostile officials and media outlets induced an image as if we had asked the Yemenis to strike two Saudi warships and they did that, but the spiritual children of the revolution in the region have grown their capabilities to the levels that they can plan such operations” (independently).
General Sha’bani’s remarks started debates when they were released by the FNA’s Persian service with some misquotes. The early version of the report missed the first half of the sentence, looking as if Iran had requested the Ansarullah of Yemen to target the Saudi warships.
The report was taken off the website shortly after its release and then replaced with a correct version along with an apology and explanations, but some rival media outlets started a hype by releasing screenshots of the early version that included the misquotes.
IRGC Spokesman General Ramezan Sharif also rushed to reject the faulty report, stressing that Sha’bani’s remarks have been misquoted. He also reminded that Sha’bani is a retired general and was only a commander at the time of the Iraqi imposed war in the 1980s.
Yemen’s Ansarullah movement targeted two Saudi warships in Bab el-Mandeb Strait last week. Riyadh claimed that the two vessels were oil tankers and halted trafficking in the waterway. Saudi Arabia never presented any proof to substantiate that the two vessels were oil tankers. Satellite images also showed no oil pollution in regional waters.
Saudi Arabia resumed shipping in the strait days later.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 17,500 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Reports by independent world bodies have warned that the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia’s deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.
Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million people in need and is seeing a spike in needs, fuelled by ongoing conflict, a collapsing economy and diminished social services and livelihoods.
A UN panel has compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.