France wants to sanction Iran over Yemen arm smuggling
[Yemen Post] Amid further reports in the press establishing Iran's guilt over the alleged smuggling into Yemen of a cargo of weapons, La Belle France expressed "its concerns," and desire to pursue the matter right through the UN Sanctions Committee.
On January 28th, Sana'a confirmed in an official statement the seizure of the ship, saying it had found in the cargo hull -- surface to air missiles, C4 military-grade explosives, 122-millimeter shells, rocket-propelled grenades and bomb-making equipment, including electronic circuits, remote triggers and other hand-held explosives --
It was soon established the surface-to-air missiles were Iranian-made Misagh-2, as for most of the weapons found on board of the ship.
While high ranking officials -- Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and Yemen National Agency Chief, Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi -- affirmed Iran was to blame, calling on the UN Security Council to begin an inquiry ahead of possible sanctions, other intelligence sources announced the shipment of weapons had been meant for the Free Syrian Army and not the Houthis - Yemen Shiite rebel group based in the northern province of Sa'ada -
Moreover, the Jihan initial port of departure was in Ukraine, not Iran, making the link to Tehran somewhat of a stretch.
As tensions are running high with calls from Sana'a for Tehran to stay away and not meddle within its internal affairs, Iran Foreign Ministry fought back, refuting in block the accusation and warning such baseless and grave accusations would have negative repercussions on Yemen-Iran relations.
Several politicians remarked that similar accusations had been directed at Turkey some two months ago, when several containers hiding weapons were found by the Customs Authorities.
"I remember the government jumping to conclusions when Turkey was accused of facilitating the import of illegal weapons into Yemen ... And even though no forensic evidence other then conjectures were there to back such accusations, Turkey was put on the spot and its government had to intervened.
Iran is in the same position now, except for the fact that the UNSC seems to find its guilt politically agreeable and convenient," said a military official under cover of anonymity.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-15