Western Activists Aboard Iran's Yemen-Bound Aid Ship Call for End to Saudi War
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A group of American and European peace activists who have embarked on an Iranian ship carrying humanitarian supplies for the war-hit people of Yemen called for uninterrupted access to the Arab country and an end to the Saudi-led war.
In a statement obtained by the Tasnim News Agency, the Western nationals on board the aid ship expressed outrage at the Saudi-led military aggression against Yemen.
While the Saudi-led coalition, backed by the US, has been conducting air strikes against the Houthi movement forces and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26, a five-day humanitarian ceasefire is expected to begin on Tuesday.
More than six weeks of deadly aerial attacks on Yemen have killed over 3,500 people and left some 6,200 others injured.
Following is the statement by the Western activists:
Why We are Aboard the Rescue Ship - Statement from the Delegation of Peace Activists
We are a group pf humanitarian aid workers, medical technicians and peace activists form the US, Europe and Germany. We are from Code Pink Women for Peace, International Action Center, United National Anti-War Committee, and US Veterans for Peace.
Why are we out at sea on the other side of the world? We part of humanitarian mission being carried out by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are attempting to bring medical supplies, flour, and water to the people of Yemen.
A Criminal US Backed Saudi War
In response to a massive uprising demanding democracy and self-determination in Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has unleashed a horrific bombing campaign. Over one thousand innocent civilians are already dead. Schools, hospitals, and mosques are being targeted.
As citizens of the Western world, nothing disturbs me more than the fact that the cruise missiles and other weapons being used to terrorize and kill innocent Yemenis, are provided by the United States government. Our governments constantly utilizes propaganda about “Human Rights” when attempting to isolate and demonize certain countries, but for more than half a century they have been coddling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most blatant human rights violators on the planet.
The Saudi regime not only beheads, tortures, and exploits people within its own borders, but it represses people throughout the region,
The people of Yemen have long been held down by a corrupt un-democratic regime backed and supported by Saudi Arabia and the United States. The recently deposed President Mansour Hadi ran unopposed in the election as the official Saudi backed and selected candidate. The US/Saudi regime in Yemen facilitated a horrific campaign of drone strikes by the US military that has left countless innocent civilians dead.
In response to years of impoverishment, repression and humiliation, the people of Yemen have risen up in revolution. The Ansarullah organization, commonly called the “Houthis” in US media, is at the center of a broad coalition of forces that is writing a new constitution. Popular Committees have sprung up all across the country.
Despite what you have heard on CNN, this is not an ethnic or religious war. This is not a “proxy war” with Iran. This is a popular, anti-imperialist struggle for democracy and independence led by the Yemeni people themselves. The Ansarullah organization is aligned with Sunnis, secularists, and various forces from across Yemeni society who want to free their country form foreign hands.
In response to this massive upsurge of people’s power, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda in Yemen, are waging a campaign of violent terrorism. They hope to drown this popular revolution in blood, beat down the Yemeni people, and force them back under their dominion. The US government is supporting the Saudi regime and its allies in their criminal attack, and this is abhorrent and immoral.
The Yemeni people, despite this horrendous bombing campaign, have not surrendered. The Ansarullah fighters have aligned with the Yemeni Army and the Tribal Forces in a united front. Saudi Arabia’s attempt to form a “Free Army” of Yemeni mercenaries has completely flopped. It is now being reported that more than 642,000 Yemenis of various religious backgrounds have joined together to form People’s Militias to beat back the Saudi assault.
We call for all parties involved to lay down their weapons and enter the process of peaceful negotiations, and continue with the democratic national dialogue that’s taken place over the last three years.
A Humanitarian Mission
With us on board the Rescue Ship are many doctors and a few journalists from Iran. We intend to deliver our cargo of over 2,500 tons of food and medical supplies to the port of Hodeidah on the red Sea.
Everything on the ship has been carefully checked to make sure that NOTHING that could be considered a weapon is on board. This is a mission of peace, carried out by the Red Crescent Society of Iran, a non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations.
Iranian jets attempted to deliver medical aid earlier this month. They were cleared for landing by the Yemeni airports, but before they could touch down, they were repelled by Saudi fighter jets, made in the USA.
Blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid is an extreme violation of international law. As our craft propels itself through the Persian Gulf, we are loudly urging no one to interfere with this peaceful humanitarian mission.
Let the Hungry Children of Yemen Live!
This Illegal, Immoral Blockade Must End!
Don’t Block The Rescue Boat!