Iran has condemned US and British military attacks on Yemen, calling them “a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty”.
Britain and the US have started launching strikes from the air and sea against military targets linked to Houthi rebels in Yemen, in response to the movement’s attacks on ships in the Red Sea in support of Gaza.
It follows weeks of disruptive attacks on international shipping by the Iran-backed rebel forces, and is viewed as a dramatic regional expansion of the Israel-Hamas war.
Middle East crisis – latest: US and UK ‘launch strikes against Houthi targets’
“We strongly condemn the military attacks carried out this morning by the United States and the United Kingdom on several cities in Yemen,” said Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani in a statement, Nournews reported.
“We consider it a clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a breach of international laws, regulations, and rights.”
He added: “These attacks will only contribute to insecurity and instability in the region.”
Yemen’s Houthis spokesperson said on Friday there was no justification for the attack.
The Iran-backed group will continue targeting ships heading towards Israel, Mohammed Abdulsalam added in a post on X.
Russia said it had requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
More on Yemen strikes:
US and UK can’t allow one of the busiest shipping lanes to become the Wild West
Strikes on Yemen a high-risk balancing act that could trigger regional war
Who are the Houthis?
Saudi Arabia called for restraint to avoid an escalation of the crisis in the Middle East.
The country, which has in recent months engaged in peace talks with Yemen’s Houthis, is closely monitoring the situation with “great concern”, its foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The kingdom emphasises the importance of maintaining the security and stability of the Red Sea region, as the freedom of navigation in it is an international demand,” it added.
Lebanon’s powerful armed group Hezbollah also condemned the strikes.
The Iran-aligned group said in a statement: “The American aggression confirms once again that the US is a full partner in the tragedies and massacres committed by the Zionist enemy in Gaza and the region.”
An adviser to Iraq’s prime minister accused the West of expanding the conflict between Israel and Hamas, state news agency INA reported.
Fadi al-Shammari said the West was increasing tensions in the region – joining Iran, Hezbollah, and the Houthis themselves in criticising the attacks.