A senior Iranian military official signaled on Tuesday that Iran could send military advisers to Yemen to back the Shi’ite Houthi group in fighting a Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s legitimate government.
In an interview with the Iranian Tasnim news agency, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of the armed forces, suggested that Iran could support the Houthis in a similar way it has backed President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria.
In response to a question on Iran sendimg military advisors to Yemen, like it did in Syria, Jazayeri said: “The Islamic Republic felt its duty to help the Syrian government and nation. It also feels its duty to help the people of Yemen in any way it can, and to any level necessary.”
Iran has sent thousands of troops and advisors to Syria. Alongside Russian air power, Iranian troops, and Iranian-backed Hezbollah- which has been designated as a terrorist group by the GCC- have been fiercely battling alongside Assad’s forces to keep Assad in power and suppress the opposition.
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of also backing Yemen’s armed Houthi movement, which drove the internationally-recognized government into exile, triggering a Gulf intervention in March.
The top foreign policy advisor to Iran’s supreme leader said last month that cooperation between Iran and Russia could expand to Yemen, after a visit to Moscow.
A growing dispute between Riyadh and Tehran after the attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran which cut diplomatic ties in January has harmed the prospects of a peace deal in Yemen.