Iran says the Islamic Republic will not allow any country engaged in the aggression against Yemen to inspect an Iranian cargo ship which is traveling to Yemen to deliver humanitarian aid to the war-wracked impoverished Arab country.
“No permission will be granted to countries involved in the war on Yemen to inspect the ship carrying the Islamic Republic of Iran’s humanitarian aid,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Wednesday.
She added that the “spiteful blockade” of Yemen by aggressive countries over the past 50 days has deteriorated the living conditions in the country, warning against a humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished state.
Afkham said Iran held discussions over recent days with international organizations on ways to send immediate relief aid, including food and medicine, to Yemen and started to dispatch humanitarian help to the war-stricken country.
She expressed hope Iran’s relief aid would be distributed among the Yemeni people in cooperation with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the UN Secretariat as soon as possible.
On Monday, an Iranian ship, dubbed Nejat (Rescue), carrying 2,500 tons of much-needed humanitarian supplies left the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas for war-torn Yemen.
Iranian officials have said the ship would reach Yemen within the next 10 to 12 days.
They added that Iran has made the necessary coordination with the Yemeni Red Crescent Society as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and held consultations with the Red Crescent Society of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Djibouti to dispatch the cargo ship.
An Iranian surgeon on board the ship on Wednesday warned against the “very critical conditions” in Yemen and said people in the battle-scarred country are in dire need of medicine.
Speaking to Press TV in an exclusive interview, Shahin Mohammad Sadeqi added that 20 doctors and technicians are aboard the vessel heading toward the Yemeni port city of al Hudaidah.
“Unfortunately, there are very bad conditions [in Yemen]. Hospitals are bombarded by Saudi airplanes and also many hospitals are destroyed. They need medicine and medical help, for example doctors and the instruments of an operating room,” the Iranian doctor said.
“There are many untreated injured people, including women and children…that need to be treated by medical teams,” Sadeqi added.
Christoph Horstel, an activist and member of the Deutsche Mitte Party, who is on board the Iranian ship also told Press TV that by partaking in the mission he seeks to raise awareness about the suffering of the Yemeni people and the massacre carried out by the Saudis backed by the US as well as make sure that the humanitarian goods reach the Yemeni people.
He described the voyage as a “pure and honest humanitarian mission.”
Regarding any attempts for the inspection of the vessel, Horstel said, “We don’t want any foreign weapons on board. We want this to go smoothly, seriously and in a civilized manner,” adding, “I don’t want any blocking of this humanitarian mission.”
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls Sana’a and other major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a stalwart ally of Riyadh.
According to the latest UN figures, the Saudi military campaign has so far claimed the lives of over 1,400 people and injured close to 6,000, roughly half of whom have been civilians.