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Yemen Blames Its Civil War On Iran, Says Can't Be Part Of Solution

Houses destroyed by air strike in Yemen's capital Sana'a

Yemen's foreign minister on August 21 blamed Iran and its support for Huthi Shi'ite rebels for fueling the country's civil war and said Tehran can't be part of the solution.

"Iran is the cause of the problem, Iran continues to support the Huthis, Iranian arms are smuggled. Iran is part of the problem, not the solution," Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said when asked if Tehran could contribute to a political solution in Yemen at a news conference at the United Nations in New York.

Iran has denied providing weapons for the Huthis. It did not immediately comment on Yemen's accusations.

Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador also attacked Iran after hosting a luncheon for UN diplomats on the Yemen situation.

"Iran should get the hell out of the area period," Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said. "Iran has no role to play in the region."

Saudi Arabia supports Yemen's government in its civil war with the Huthis, and has led an Arab coalition backing government forces on the ground with air strikes.

Yemen has been engulfed in civil war since September 2014, when Huthi rebels swept into the capital and overthrew the government. The Saudi-led coalition joined the civil war in March 2015 and UN investigators have linked its bombings to thousands of civilian deaths..

At least 10,000 civilians have died in the war, the UN estimated in January, with more than 8,300 of those killed since the Saudi-led coalition entered the war. More than 44,000 people have been wounded.

The UN has repeatedly warned that civilians in the Middle East's poorest country face acute shortages of food and clean water due to the war's devastation of facilities.

Close to 2,000 Yemenis since April have died of cholera, which is caused by unsanitary water supplies, and another 600,000 are expected to contract the infection this year.

With reporting by AP and AFP