Sunday Oct 20, 201906:10 AM GMT
Iran says documents prove Yemen ship had no arms
Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:56PM
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Yemeni refugees near tents at the Marzaq internally displaced people's camp in the northwestern province of Hajja.
After Yemen accused Iran of sending a ship carrying weapons destined for Yemeni fighters, Iran says documents can be provided to prove the claim is a sheer lie.

On Monday, Yemen claimed to have impounded an Iranian-crewed vessel carrying weapons off the Yemeni coast near the Houthi fighters' stronghold.

Reacting to the report, an informed source with the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that no Iranian cargo delivering anti-tank shells to the fighters had been intercepted by Yemeni officials.

The Foreign Ministry source described the report as a "media fabrication" made public with "political motivation."

The source said Sana'a officials are "expected to prevent the spread of such baseless propaganda" which is against the interests of both countries.

Meanwhile, in a separate reaction to the report, the Iranian Embassy in Sana'a issued a statement on Wednesday rejecting the claim as "baseless and fabricated"

"The cited vessel was destined for the Caspian Sea through the Red Sea, Mediterranean and the Black Sea for business activities," read the statement.

According to the embassy, the vessel had not been carrying any consignment from its origin (Sharjah-United Arab Emirates) and official documents can be provided to prove the matter.

"Furthermore technical characteristics of the vessel are more proof that the report is unprofessional in its entirety and has solely been publicized for propaganda purposes," added the statement.

Yemen has been fighting a war in its northern mountains near the border with Saudi Arabia against a Shia tribal group known as the Houthis, which has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting and shelling while hundreds have been killed and wounded in the clashes.

The government accuses the Houthis of seeking to restore a religious leadership, which ended in a republican coup in 1962, as well as violating the terms of an armistice by taking foreign visitors hostage in 2009.

The Houthis say they demand an end to social, economic and political 'discrimination' against Shias in Yemen as well as Saudi-backed attempts to spread Wahabism — a sect that preaches controversial and violent actions — in the north and accuse the government of widespread corruption.

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