By David Daoud
Iran has been operating a major scam in order to help Houthi rebels in Yemen, without prejudicing the discussions with the West over its nuclear program, Israel’s Channel 2 revealed this week.
In order to bypass US sanctions on Iranian airlines sending arms to Syria and elsewhere through the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, reports indicate that the Iranians are using front companies to hide the fact that IRGC Air Force planes are carrying weapons to their proxies.
In one example, an Iranian Air Force plane was painted with the logo and identification number of a new civilian cargo company called “Pooyah.” This company officially worked through the Red Crescent in order to carry out humanitarian missions, but in reality it was used to transfer weapons to Houthi fighters in Yemen, according to the report. A similar strategy was employed using the cargo planes of Iran’s “Maan Air” and “Yas Air.”
“Pooyah” is indeed a new company, but all of the departures and arrivals of its planes go via IRGC controlled airports. Because of this, it has proven difficult for Iran to hide the fact that these airlines are operating in the service of the regime, Channel 2 said.
Another problematic issue is a tourism agreement between Iran and Yemen which has facilitated 14 weekly flights from Tehran to Sana’a. It can easily be assumed that there aren’t many Iranian tourists wishing to visit Yemen at this point in time, given the fighting raging on in the country. It is therefore safe to say that the aircraft were not carrying tourists or humanitarian aid, but weapons, Channel 2 alleged.
According to the report, intelligence officials are sure that the Iranians have been transferring advanced missiles to Yemen, capable of targeting ships and other targets.