Iran Agrees To Stop Arming Houthi Rebels Thanks To China Deal

(Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Iran agreed to stop sending arms to the Houthi rebel group in Yemen as part of a recent deal reached with Saudi Arabia, Saudi and American officials said Thursday.

Iran had long been arming the group, considered a terrorist organization by some countries including briefly by the Trump administration, covertly as it wages an insurgency in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has backed the internationally-recognized Yemeni government in its ongoing civil war against the Houthis, often fighting with U.S.-made weapons.

Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement to re-establish diplomatic relations for the first time in seven years last week. The deal was brokered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the agreement announced in Beijing by President Xi Jinping during the National People’s Congress.

U.S. and Saudi officials told The Wall Street Journal that being cut off from Iranian arms could lead the Houthis to seek a negotiated end to the war. The war, which has included Houthis launching rockets and bombs into Saudi territory and numerous terror attacks in the country by al-Qaeda, is considered by some to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

A ceasefire has been in effect in Yemen for almost a year. Still, more than 150,000 people have been killed in the conflict, with millions more displaced or facing food insecurity as a result. (RELATED: Russia Routing US-Made Weapons Captured In Ukraine To Iran For Reverse Engineering: REPORT)

Iranian officials at the United Nations declined to speak to the WSJ about cutting off arms to the Houthis. The Iranian regime has consistently denied that it sends weapons to the rebels in Yemen, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.