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Jan 06, 2024
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Senior Yemeni-Houthi Official Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi Clashes With BBC Interviewer, Denies Houthis Receive Iranian Support, Adds: The U.S. Has No Right To Maintain Security In The Red Sea

#10788 | 05:33
Source: BBC Arabic (The UK)

Yemeni politician Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council clashed with BBC Arabic (U.K.) journalist Nouran Sallam during a January 6, 2024 show. He said that the U.S. has no right to maintain security in the Red Sea, because only the countries along the cost of the Red Sea have the right to be present there. When Sallam challenged this claim, asking about Iran’s presence in the area, he answered that Iran only maintains a presence in the region because of the American presence there. He continued to reject Sallam’s statements that Iran provides support for the Houthis, and he continued to accuse her of bias, claiming that she is not allowed to support the Palestinian cause, because she might lose her job.

Interviewer: "There is a problem in Gaza, and you added another problem to it by militarizing the Bab el-Mandeb Strat and the Red Sea, with your actions. Now, the Americans are responding with this coalition, and the Iranians have sent ships to the area, which has become completely militarized, and you started it all."

Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi: "The Iranians said in their statement that they were already in the area. Everybody knows that they were in the area before. The responsibility for militarizing the Red Sea lies with America. The U.S. is looking to establish this coalition in order to add fuel to the fire. This was also stated by the Chinese representatives to the Security Council yesterday."

Interviewer: "Should the U.S. just do nothing, when there is a danger to international commercial shipping?"

Al-Houthi: "The U.S. is not responsible for international shipping, nor is it responsible for securing the Red Sea. The right to secure the Red Sea is ours. The U.S. should go and secure the sea in Florida and similar places..."

Interviewer: "Why does Iran have this right and America does not? Bab el-Mandeb is also far from Iran."

Al-Houthi: "Nobody has this right, except for the countries along the coast of the Red Sea."

Interviewer: "So Iran does not have this right..."

Al-Houthi: "The countries along its coast have full rights to the Red Sea. But when all the foreign forces have assembled here, we called on all the Arab countries along the Red Sea coast to sign an agreement to expel all the foreign forces from the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea and let countries along its coast maintain its security. This is our position. This is our approach."

Interviewer: "So you oppose the Iranian presence in the Red Sea?"

Al-Houthi: "We oppose the American presence, before anything else. We oppose, first and foremost, the presence of countries that attacked us."

Interviewer: "What about Iran? According to the same logic..."

Al-Houthi: "We have no problem if only Arab or coastal countries will enjoy freedom of navigation there."

Interviewer: "Okay, so by the same logic, you are against the Iranian presence in the Red Sea."

Al-Houthi: "I said, and this is my opinion, that all the countries along the coast should agree that nobody has the right to enter our Red Sea, and that the security of the Red Sea will be maintained by the countries along its coast. Iran would not have the right to be there, if the U.S. and the other countries were not there. I believe that the Iranian presence there stems from the presence of the other forces."

Interviewer: "By finding excuses for the Iranians, you seem to apply a double standard..."

Al-Houthi: "And you are finding excuses for the Americans to come from the end of the world to attack and kill [us]. So far, the Iranians have not killed anyone in the Red Sea. It was the Americans who killed us."

Interviewer: "When we think about what is happening now..."

Al-Houthi: "It is the Americans who threaten to fight us. Why should I talk about the Iranians who have not threatened to fight me, and no about the Americans or the British who are looking to fight me?"

Interviewer: "I will tell you why. Because the common denominator between you, Al-Nujaba Brigades, Iraqi Hizbullah, and Lebanese Hizbullah is Iran. You cannot ignore the Iranian support."

Al-Houthi: "That's your opinion..."

Interviewer: "It's not an opinion. It's reality. It's the truth."

Al-Houthi: "That's your conviction..."

Interviewer: "It's not a conviction or an opinion..."

Al-Houthi: "It will take years to change the convictions of the BBC journalists."

Interviewer: "This has nothing to with the [identity] of the journalist talking to you. Is it not Iran that supports you, Iraqi Hizbullah, Al-Nujabaa Brigades, and Hizbullah in Lebanon?"

Al-Houthi: "This is all information you are getting from somewhere. You know that you are not allowed to stand by the Palestinian cause, or talk freely about the Palestinians..."

Interviewer: "The Houthis did not deny in the past..."

Al-Houthi: "In Britain, you now have this approach. Anyone talking in support of the Palestinians is canceled. You might lose your job if you did."

Interviewer: "All I am saying is that the Houthis did not deny in the past..."

Al-Houthi: "You keep talking about the Iranians..."

Interviewer: "Sir, you have the right to think that, but the BBC is objective and neutral. All I am saying is that in the past, you did not deny that you receive Iranian support."

Al-Houthi: "Where is your objectivity with regard to what is happening in Gaza, if the BBC is so objective and neutral?"

Interviewer: "Are you denying that you receive Iranian support?"

Al-Houthi: "I do not receive any Iranian support."

Interviewer: "No training, no money, no weapons, no nothing?"

Al-Houthi: "I've never been to Iran. I'm in my country. We have our own capabilities and expertise. You have already asked me this. Why are you repeating these questions? You sound like a broken record."

Interviewers: "Because you are viewed as one of Iran's claws."

Al-Houthi: "This is the policy of the BBC. You want to characterize us this way."

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