United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Polls: Americans Support Nuke Talks

The following are excerpts from five recent polls, four of which found that more Americans approve of nuclear talks with Iran than disapprove. One poll found that more Americans disapprove than approve of President Barack Obama’s general handling of Iran relations. Two of the surveys were conducted just days before the March 31 deadline for a preliminary political agreement between Iran and the world’s six major powers.
 
Washington Post-ABC News
 
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 59 percent of American support an agreement in which the United States and other major world powers lift major sanctions in return for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. The survey, conducted March 26-29, also showed that 31 percent oppose such a deal. Support outpaced opposition across nearly all demographic and political groups. Republicans were split. Some 47 percent supported a deal and 43 percent opposed.
 
But nearly six in 10 Americans were not confident that a deal will prevent Tehran from attaining nuclear weapons. The following is the breakdown of confidence in an agreement:
  • Very confident: 4 percent
  • Somewhat confident: 33 percent
  • Not so confident: 26 percent
  • Not confident at all: 34 percent
  • No opinion: 3 percent
 
Click here for more information on the poll.
 
Pew Research Center
 
More Americans approve than disapprove of Washington negotiating directly with Tehran over its nuclear program, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. But the majority do not think Iranian leaders are “serious” about addressing the international community’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. The results (left) are from the poll, conducted March 25-29. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CBS News
 
A CBS News poll conducted March 21-24 found that more Americans disapprove than approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of Iran relations. 

Some 45 percent of Americans think Iran’s nuclear program can be contained for now. Another 29 percent think military action is now required to remove the threat.

Click here for the full results. 

CNN and ORC International

Americans broadly support direct negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, according to a new poll by CNN and ORC International. But they are split across party lines regarding the open letter to Iran’s leaders signed by 47 Republican senators. The letter warned that a nuclear deal signed during President Barack Obama’s tenure could be revoked by the next president or modified by a future Congress. The following are key results from the survey, which was conducted March 13-15.

• 68 percent of Americans support direct negotiations, including 77 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents
 
• 29 percent oppose direct negotiations
 
• 49 percent say the letter sent by 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders went too far, including 67 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents
 
• 39 percent say the GOP letter was an appropriate response to the way negotiations were going, including 52 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independents
 
• 18 percent think the GOP letter helped U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons while 32 percent think the letter hurt those efforts
 
  • 44 percent say the letter had no impact on negotiations
 
Click here for more information.
 
University of Maryland 
 

The majority of Americans favor a potential nuclear deal with Iran, according to a new survey by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull in the Program for Public Consultation and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. More than 60 percent of respondents support a deal that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose inspections in exchange for lifting some sanctions. The poll was conducted February 19-25, with a sample of 710 adults.The following are excerpted key findings from the poll.

"In this survey a representative sample of Americans were presented the two primary options that have dominated this debate:
 
· For the US to continue to pursue an agreement that would accept some enrichment by Iran, but with substantial limits that would preclude Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and intrusive inspections to ensure those limits are met, in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.
 
· For the US to not accept any Iranian enrichment. Instead, the US would continue trying to get other nations to impose new economic sanctions in an effort to persuade Iran to cease enrichment completely.
 
While majorities found arguments for both options at least somewhat convincing, when asked to make their final recommendation, a clear majority of 61% recommended making a deal with Iran that would include a limited enrichment capacity for Iran. This included 61% of Republicans, 66% of Democrats and 54% of independents. The alternative of increasing sanctions in an effort to get Iran to stop all uranium enrichment was endorsed by 36%."
 
"Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all made this same judgment. Republicans chose continuing negotiations by 61 to 35%, while Democrats favored it by 66 to 32%. A relatively more modest majority of Independents favored a deal by 54 to 42%.
 
This response was essentially the same as when PPC took respondents through the exact same process and found 61% favored a deal and 35% favored pursuing sanctions. Partisan variations were not significantly different. In the current survey, among the 9% of the sample who identified themselves as very sympathetic to the Tea Party, a plurality of 46% favored pursuing a deal with 41% opposed. Those somewhat sympathetic to the Tea Party were no different from the sample as a whole.
 
Among those who watch Fox News daily (13% of sample) views were divided, rising to 55% in favor of a deal for those who watch it 2-3 times a week. There was no significant effect for watching MSNBC.
 
The strongest effect was among those who watch a Christian news network at least 2-3 times a week or more. Among this group only 26% favored a deal while 58% favored pursuing sanctions.
 
Respondents were also asked what they thought the effect of making a deal would have on the fight against the Islamic State. A majority of 63% said it would make no difference, but more (23%) said it would help, than said it would hurt (13%). Partisan differences were insignificant.
 
Click here for the full report
 

 

Tags: Poll, Reports

Nuke Talks: Diplomacy in Tweets & Pictures

On March 26, a new round of nuclear negotiations began in Lausanne, Switzerland between Iran and the world's six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States with only days remaining before the deadline for a political framework. The following are pictures and tweets from the recent round of talks.

 

 

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats in a hotel hallway with James Timbie, Senior Adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, amid a break in Iranian nuclear program negotiations on March 30, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Photo by U.S. Department of State via Flickr, Public Domain as U.S. Government work

 

 

Kerry reviews his briefing papers in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 27, 2015, amid a break in negotiations with Iranian leaders.

 

 

 

Photo by U.S. Department of State via Flickr, Public Domain as U.S. Government work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerry chats with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on March 29, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before a coordinating meeting among the P5+1 partner nations.

 

Photo by U.S. Department of State via Flickr, Public Domain as U.S. Government work

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerry greets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after they bumped into one another on March 29, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of P5+1 partner negotiations.

Photo by U.S. Department of State via Flickr, Public Domain as U.S. Government work

Kerry speaks at a briefing with top advisers before meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, the Vice President of Iran for Atomic Energy and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and other Iranian officials on March 28, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Photo by U.S. Department of State via Flickr, Public Domain as U.S. Government work

 

 

 

The following are pictures of the hallway in which the press waits for meetings to end.

 

Report: Key Criteria for Nuclear Deal

A new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies outlines key criteria for judging a nuclear agreement with Iran. “Arms control is a process, not an event,” warns author Anthony Cordesman. “Actually implementing an agreement will involve a list of questions and issues, clarifications, and efforts to push the agreement to one side’s advantage that will go on for years.” And given that the adversarial nature of Iran’s relationship with the West is unlikely to change overnight, Cordesman argues that the agreement should be fully verifiable and enforceable and include “clear procedures for change and clarification.” Iran and the world’s six major powers aim to have a comprehensive agreement finished by June 30. The following are excerpts from the report.  

 
Key Criteria and Tests
 
1. Compromises and trade-offs are the price of negotiations but they must still must be judged by their relative success. There rarely is any chance of negotiating an agreement where one side decisively wins. Agreements are the product of trade-offs and compromises and the key is not winning a zero sum game, but emerging with more advantages from the best agreement one can actually negotiate than not having an agreement at all.
 
Accordingly, one key criterion is to judge the value of a negotiated compromise relative to the alternatives, not some one-sided view of the perfect agreement.
 
2. A static agreement is unworkable, but there must be clear procedures for change and clarification. Second, no real world agreement can ever live in a world where the negotiators can look 10 to 15 years in the future – or usually even 10 to 15 months – and predict all the important changes that will take place in politics, other security issues, technology, and tactics. Arms control either evolves or fails. The arms control process adapts and is revised, or becomes too rigid and ceases to be effective.
 
This makes it critical to have a well-defined set of reviews, to spell out the conditions for making revisions or changes, and have some agreed forum to decide on how to clarify and revisions the agreement – as well as a clear process for notification and warning if one side chooses to end the agreement
 
3. Adversarial agreements need to be fully verified. If they are not, they are an invitation to cheat and deceive. In this case, the P5+1 side can scarcely conceal any failure to lift sanctions or honor the civil side of the agreement. Iran has long demonstrated, however, that it can and does conceal and lie.
 
 As a result, it is not enough to simply give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) challenge and rapid inspection rights under the revised protocols the negotiators are debating. They have to have full mobility throughout the country and right to inspect any site they want – not some restricted list that makes cheating possible. Equally important, the members of the P+1 as well as outside powers have to commit to providing the IAEA with intelligence data and warning since it and the UN lack intelligence collection capability, and request IAEA action and inspection. Iran, in turn, should have the explicit right to challenge any failure to comply on the part of the P5+1 states.
 
4. Adversarial agreements need to be enforceable. Iran has a simple enforcement option if the P5+1 does not meet the requirements of any agreement: It can resume its nuclear weapons program. The P5+1, UN, and IAEA do not have that option. Credible enforcement requires an agreement that Iran’s failure to comply with lead to an immediate resumption of sanctions if it is found to be in violation, and the military option should be on the table.
 
Enrichment Issues
 
Enrichment issues are important, and any negotiable agreement is likely to be based on some set of compromises. Accordingly, this means an explicit analysis of the trade-offs between agreement and non-agreement relating to Iran’s various nuclear enrichment efforts and its ability to acquire fissile material. These issues include potential limits, controls, and inspection arrangements dealing with
 
· The number of centrifuges,
· The development of more advanced centrifuges,
· The level of Uranium enrichment and the size of Iran’s stockpiles,
· The potential use of the new reactor at Arak to produce Plutonium,
· How soon Iran could use any of these to get enough material to produce a nuclear device,
· The extent to which any agreement dealing with all of these issues is enforceable,
· How long an agreement will be in force, and
· The incentives to Iran for reaching an agreement, especially the extent to which UN, US, and EU sanctions will be lifted, and the timing of such action.
 
One critical technical issue will be how soon Iran could acquire enough fissile material to make a crude nuclear device once the agreement is in force. The importance of the one fissile event, one time, criteria, however, should not be exaggerated.
 
Click here for the full text.
 
Anthony Cordesman is the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
 
Click here to read his chapter on Iran’s conventional military.
 

Congressional Actions on Iran

The following is a roundup of Congressional legislation, letters, and other actions relating to the ongoing negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Legislation
 
Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015
 
On Jan. 27, 2015, Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would automatically impose sanctions on Iran if talks with the world’s six major powers fail to yield a deal by June 30. The following are excerpts from the press release on the bill.
 
  • Sanctions will be implemented only after the June 30th negotiations deadline, but only if the negotiations fail to produce a deal.
  • The Kirk-Menendez legislation increases the current congressional oversight of the negotiations and requires the Administration to formally submit any new nuclear agreement text or extension to Congress within five days.
  • Congress is allotted 30 days to review any nuclear agreement before the President can waive, defer or suspend sanctions.
  • Subject to a report and certification, the President can only waive sanctions if it is in the vital national security interest of the United States and/or a waiver would make a long-term comprehensive solution with Iran more likely.
  • If there is no final agreement by July 6, 2015, Kirk-Menendez would re-impose sanctions that have been waived while the negotiations have been ongoing, which would begin in August and run through December.
  • New sanctions would close loopholes in existing petroleum sanctions, enhance sanctions on Iran’s oil trade and financial transactions, and impose further sanctions on Iran’s senior government officials, family members and other individuals for weapons of mass destruction proliferation, terrorism sponsorship and other illicit activities, and on Iran’s shipbuilding, automotive, construction, engineering and mining sectors.
 
Click here for the full text of the bill
 
Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015
 
On Feb. 27, 2015, Senator Bob Corker introduced legislation that would require Congressional review of a nuclear deal, and prevent the Obama administration from lifting congressional sanctions for 60 days. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the bill on April 14. The following are the key provisions of the legislation, from a Senate press release.
 
  • Congressional Review: Within five days of concluding a comprehensive agreement with Iran, the president must submit to Congress (1) the text of the agreement, (2) a verification assessment on Iranian compliance, and (3) a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives and does not jeopardize U.S. national security, including not allowing Iran to pursue nuclear-related military activities.
  • No Suspension of Congressional Sanctions for 60 Days: The president is prohibited from suspending, waiving or otherwise reducing congressional sanctions for 60 days. During this period, Congress may hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. Passage of a joint resolution of approval, or no action, within the 60-day period would allow the President to move forward with congressional sanctions relief. Passage of a joint resolution of disapproval (overriding a presidential veto) within the 60-day period would block the president from implementing congressional sanctions relief under the agreement.
  • Congressional Oversight and Iranian Compliance: After the congressional review period, the president would be required to assess Iran’s compliance with the agreement every 90 days. In the event the president cannot certify compliance, or if the president determines there has been a material breach of the agreement, Congress could vote, on an expedited basis, to restore sanctions that had been waived or suspended under the agreement.

Click here for the full text

 
Congressional Oversight of Iranian Compliance Act
 
On March 4, 2015, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with six other Senators, introduced legislation that would allow Congressional oversight of a nuclear deal with Iran. The Senators issued a press release summarizing the legislation.
 
“The Iran Congressional Oversight Act:
 
  • Requires the President to report to Congress at least once every 90 days on Iranian compliance with the Joint Plan of Action or any successor deal, and that the report be accompanied by an unclassified certification by the President, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, of whether Iran has complied with or violated such deal;
  • Sets up an expedited process for Congress to vote on legislation to reinstate waived or suspended sanctions and prohibit transfers of assets to Iran if the President certifies to Congress that Iran has violated a deal. The expedited process would not be subject to a filibuster;
  • Sets up a process to expedite consideration of legislation that is determined to be necessary by the Majority Leader, after consultation with the Minority Leader, to further respond to a violation by Iran of a nuclear deal during the 30-day period after which the President certifies to Congress that Iran has violated a deal. Under this process, a motion to proceed to consider additional action against Iran would not be debatable.
  • Reaffirms the constitutional role of Congress in repealing congressionally mandated sanctions if, in the context of a final deal, the U.S. commits to lifting such sanctions.”
 
Click here for the full text of the bill
 
Sanction Iran, Safeguard America Act
 
On March 19, Cruz (R-TX) introduced new sanctions legislation, a repeat of his July 2014 legislation that had no co-sponsors and was never passed. Cruz issued a press release highlighting the key provisions of the bill.
 
“The Sanction Iran, Safeguard America Act:
 
  • Re-imposes all previous sanctions that the Obama Administration relaxed.
  • Expands sanctions related to the petrochemical and automotive sector.
  • Prohibits funding for negotiations and implementation of any nuclear agreement with Iran unless congressional approval is reached.
  • Gives Iran a clear path towards their removal: dismantling their nuclear program in its entirety; removing all centrifuges, relinquishing enriched uranium, and ceasing all research and development of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program.
  • Requires Iran to renounce its state-sponsorship of terrorism.”
 
Click here for more information on the bill

Kirk-Brown-Boxer-Menendez Amendment
 
On March 26, the Senate voted 100-0 in favor of a budget amendment introduced by Mark Kirk (R-IL) that would impose new sanctions on Iran if it violates the terms of a nuclear deal.
 
“The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, amendments between the Houses, motions, or conference reports relating to Iran, which may include efforts to immediately reimpose waived sanctions and impose new sanctions against the Government of Iran for violations of the Joint Plan of Action or a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.”
 
Click here for more information

Stabenow Amendment
 
On March 26, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) filed a budget amendment in response to Tom Cotton’s letter to Iranian leaders and proposals to cut funding for the nuclear talks. Stabenow’s jab at Cotton is unlikely to be brought up for a vote.
 
“Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting the purchase of stationary [sic] or electronic devices for the purpose of members of Congress or congressional staff communicating with foreign governments and undermining the role of the President as Head of State in international nuclear negotiations on behalf of the United States."
 
Click here to view the amendment
 
Letters

Tom Cotton’s Open Letter to Iran’s Leaders
 
On March 10, 2015, Tom Cotton (R-AR) drafted an open letter to Iran’s leadership, signed by 46 other Republican Senators.
 
“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
 
Click here for the full text
 
House Democrats’ Response to Tom Cotton’s Letter
 
On March 16, 2015, Democratic Representatives Waters (D-CA), Cohen (D-TN), Conyers (D-MI), Lee (D-CA), and Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
 
“Senator Tom Cotton’s effort to undermine the credibility of our ongoing negotiations with Iran and United States allies not only disrespects the office of the President, but it diminishes confidence among our global allies in the United States’ capacity to enter into binding commitments with other nations and promote international peace and stability.”
 
Click here for the full text
 
Bob Corker’s Letter to Demand Congressional Veto of Iran Deal
 
On March 12, 2015, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) sent a letter to President Obama to push for Congressional approval of a potential nuclear deal.
 
“There are now reports that your administration is contemplating taking an agreement, or aspects of it, to the United Nations Security Council for a vote. Enabling the United Nations to consider an agreement or portions of it, while simultaneously threatening to veto legislation that would enable Congress to do the same, is a direct affront to the American people and seeks to undermine Congress’s appropriate role.”
 
Click here for the full text
 
House Republicans’ Letter on Suspending Funds for Iran Negotiations
 
On March 19, 2015, Representatives Roskam (R-IL) and Zeldin (R-NY) circulated a letter addressed to the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chair Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Member Lowey (D-NY) seeking to suspend funds for the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.
 
“Over the past year, negotiations with the Iranian regime have failed to bring us closer to a final agreement that would sufficiently prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Endless negotiations will only further enable Iran to advance its nuclear technology while reaping the benefit of billions of dollars in desperately needed sanctions relief. Moreover, the deal reportedly under consideration would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure virtually intact and expire in ten years, at which point the mullahs could freely pursue a nuclear weapon.” 
 
Click here for the full text
 
House Members’ Letter on Congressional Role in Sanctions
 
On March 19, Representatives Royce (R-IN) and Engel (D-NY) sent a letter to President Obama, signed by 367 House members.
 
“Iran’s nuclear program poses a grave threat to the national security of the United States and our allies.  As the July 20th deadline for a “comprehensive solution” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon approaches, we urge greater consultation with Congress on a potential sanctions relief package that may be part of a final agreement.”
 
Click here for the full text
 

 

Iran on Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen

On March 26, Saudi Arabia began conducting airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen, which drew strong condemnation from Iranian officials. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif demanded an “immediate halt” to Saudi military actions. Iran is widely seen as the main backer of the Houthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement that has been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004. The Houthis have controlled the capital city Sanaa since September 2014.

Saudi Arabia carried out the strikes with a coalition of nine other nations. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan contributed jets to the operation, while Pakistan and Egypt provided naval support. The United States did not contribute warplanes, but provided intelligence and logistical support, according to a senior State Department official.

The following are excerpted remarks from Iranian officials on the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen.

President Hassan Rouhani
 
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
 
"We want an immediate halt to Saudi Arabia's military operations in Yemen.”
 
"We will make all our efforts to control the crisis in Yemen."
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
"The Saudi-led airstrikes should stop immediately and it is against Yemen's sovereignty."
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian

"We condemn foreign interference with the situation in Yemen by any country, be it Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the United States.”
 
"Carrying out airstrikes and starting a war is easy. Putting an end to a war and quitting a war is hard." 
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham
 
"Iran wants an immediate halt to all military aggressions and air strikes against Yemen and its people."
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
"Resorting to military acts against Yemen which is entangled in an internal crisis and fighting terrorism will further complicate the situation, spread the range of crisis and destroy opportunities to settle the internal differences in Yemen peacefully.”
 
"This aggression will merely result in the spread of terrorism and extremism and will spread insecurity to the entire region."
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
“These operations are a dangerous step and completely contrary to international obligations in respecting the national sovereignty of other countries.”
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
Head of Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaedin Boroujerdi
 
“The fact that Saudi Arabia has fanned the flames of a new war in the region shows its carelessness."
 
“The smoke of this fire will go into the eyes of Saudi Arabia as war is never limited to one place only. We hope this military operation will be halted immediately and the Yemen problem solved through political means.”
 
“America, which leads the fire mongering in the region, has supported this act and no doubt Saudi Arabia and some countries in the Arab cooperation council would not get involved without America's permission."
 
“Having imposed long years of crisis in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, America has in practice started another crisis and massacre on the Islamic world and this act is strongly condemned."
—March 26, 2015, according to the press
 
Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir made the following statement about the airstrikes on March 26.
 
“The Kingdom Saudi Arabia has launched military operations in Yemen, as part of a coalition of over ten countries in response to a direct request from the legitimate government of Yemen. The operation will be limited in nature, and designed to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis and a Houthi violent and extremist militia. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have tried to facilitate a peaceful transition of government in Yemen, but the Houthis have continuously undercut the process by occupying territory and seizing weapons belonging to the government. In spite of repeated efforts by the GCC, Group of 10 countries and the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General to seek a peaceful way to implement the GCC initiatives and the outcomes of the national dialogue that define the political transition in Yemen, the Houthis have reneged on every single agreement they have made and continue their quest to take over the country by violent means. They captured the capital city of Sanaa, they placed the legitimate president, prime minister and cabinet members under house arrest, they seized the security services and they continue to expand their occupation of the country.
 
President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi of Yemen made a request to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to convene a conference under the auspices of the GCC to which all Yemeni political factions seeking to preserve security and stability in Yemen would be invited. The Houthis rejected this invitation and continued their violent onslaught in Yemen to the point where they were threatening to occupy the city of Aden, which had become the temporary capital for the legitimate government of President Hadi after he was able to escape from Sanaa. In a letter, dated March 24, 2015, President Hadi made, based on the principle of self-defense, enshrined in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, as well as in the Arab League charter’s collective defense mechanism, a request for immediate support - by all means necessary - including military intervention to protect Yemen and its people from the continued Houthi aggression and to support it in fighting al Qaeda and ISIS.â€‌
 
Based on the appeal from President Hadi, and based on the Kingdom’s responsibility to Yemen and its people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its allies within the GCC and outside the GCC, launched military operations in support of the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”
 
“We will do whatever is necessary to protect the legitimate government in Yemen, prevent it from falling and to encounter the dangers of the militia. The situation in Yemen is dangerous and has never happened in history that a militia was able to control air forces or ballistic missiles and heavy weapons and this is a very dangerous situation and we will do everything we can to protect the Yemeni people and the legitimate government in Yemen.”
—March 26, 2015, in a press conference
 
Photo credit: Zarif by Robin Wright; Afkham via Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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