Iran sends relief aid to crisis-hit Yemen via Oman: IRCS
The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has dispatched relief aid to people in Yemen through Oman as Saudi Arabia continues to block Iran's humanitarian aid delivery to the war-wracked country.
IRCS Secretary General Ali Asghar Ahmadi said on Sunday that another air route has been chosen for the delivery of humanitarian aid due to Saudi Arabia's blockade.
“Talks have been held with Oman so that the relief cargo dispatched by the Iranian Red Crescent Society would end in the hands of the Yemeni people through this country,” Ahmadi said.
The official noted that the IRCS aid would be dispatched to Yemen through a charity body in Oman.
He said humanitarian aid has been sent to Oman in cooperation with Iran’s Foreign Ministry, expressing hope that the aid would be distributed to the Yemeni people "very soon."
Ahmadi’s comments came after Saudi Arabia on April 28 forced an Iranian cargo plane carrying medical aid and foodstuff for crisis-hit people in Yemen to return.
The Iranian aircraft, which had earlier received permits from Omani and Yemeni aviation officials to cross into Yemen’s airspace, could not land at the international airport in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, as Saudi warplanes were violently striking the runway of the civil airport.
The development came less than a week after Saudi fighter jets intercepted an Iranian airplane, carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, and prevented it from entering the Yemeni airspace on April 22.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said the IRCS had obtained the necessary permission to fly in the Oman-Yemen route and send a plane in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to fly Yemeni patients back to Iran and distribute medical aid to the injured in the war-wracked country.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on April 26 said the Islamic Republic considers all options for helping the Yemeni people and immediate dispatch of humanitarian aid and transfer of the injured.
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 - without a UN mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
The Saudis claim the airstrikes only target military positions. However, reports show civilians and infrastructure in civilian areas are being attacked.
In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said evidence shows Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions in the northern province of Sa’ada in recent weeks.
According to the World Health Organization, 1,244 Yemenis lost their lives and 5,044 others were injured from March 19 to April 27. Hundreds of women and children are among the victims, according to the WHO.