Iranian Involvement in Yemen


For at least a decade, there have been numerous Yemeni, Saudi, and other countries’ assertions that Iran has been involved in supporting northern Yemeni rebels seeking autonomy from the Sana’a government. Iranian diplomatic and political support for this rebellious group (known as the Houthis) is undeniable, but Iranian military assistance for them has not always been easy to prove. This situation appeared to change in 2011 when Iran’s increased involvement in Yemen occurred in response to both the chaotic situation there during the final year of the Saleh regime and the danger that the Arab Spring revolutions would leave Iran increasingly isolated. Evidence of Iranian efforts to supply weapons to the Houthis now seems overwhelming in contrast to uncertain reports prior to 2011. In addition, at least some of Yemen’s southern secessionists also appear to be receiving at least limited Iranian financial support.

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