Tehran has been sending increasingly complex weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels even as Iranian officials have engaged in separate talks with the United States and Saudi Arabia about reducing tensions in the region, a top Pentagon official said Tuesday.

“In the Yemen context, we have seen more attacks from the Houthis launched at Saudi Arabia in the first half of this year than we have for several prior years,” Dana Stroul, the Pentagon’s top official for policy in the Middle East, told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

“Iran is increasing the lethality and complexity of both the equipment and the knowledge it transfers to the Houthis so that they can attack Saudi territory [and] Saudi civilians,” Stroul told lawmakers.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, whom Western officials say have received support and training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, have continued to launch ballistic missile and drone strikes into Saudi Arabia in recent years in response to the Riyadh-led military campaign in support of the Yemeni government. The technology also comes from Iran, American officials have said.

Stroul’s comments come as top Iranian and Saudi officials are reportedly set to meet in Baghdad along with other regional representatives later this month. Saudi and Iranian officials held preliminary talks focused alleviating tensions between their sides in Baghdad earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic push led by the Biden administration to end Yemen’s civil war remains stalled. The Iran-linked Houthi rebels continue to ignore a cease-fire proposed by Saudi Arabia in March, pushing for further territorial gains on the ground after capturing a majority of Yemen’s population centers in recent years.

The Houthis have demanded a complete end to the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen, which rights’ groups say has worsened the war’s humanitarian crisis — the world’s worst, according to the United Nations.

The Biden administration is still counting on the rebels to come to the table for peace talks, Yemen envoy Timothy Lenderking told reporters Monday.

“The Houthis are not winning in Marib,” Lenderking said in reference to a stalemated rebel offensive against one of the last cities under government control.

Source » iranbriefing