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US foreign policy

US senator meets with Iranian ambassador over Yemen, Iran nuclear deal

Published: Updated:

The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee met with Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday to discuss the now-defunct Iran nuclear deal and the war in Yemen.

Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator and outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia, said he also raised the issue of American hostages in Iran. Murphy said he told Iran’s ambassador, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, that “American prisoners” needed to be released from Iranian jails.

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In a statement released by his office, Murphy said he “made the case directly” to the Iranian diplomat for Tehran to engage “with seriousness and urgency in nuclear negotiations” that are ongoing in Vienna.

US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley is leading Washington’s delegation in indirect talks with Iran in a bid to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from in 2018.

Murphy also said he told Takht-Ravanchi that Iran needed to pressure the Houthis to end the war in Yemen.

A noticeable change in Murphy’s rhetoric was noticed following his recent trip to the region where he met with officials and diplomats to discuss the Yemen war.

Murphy previously accused Saudi Arabia of sowing “the seeds of this mess,” in reference to the Yemen war.

But after visiting the region earlier this month, Murphy said the “the ball was really in the Houthis' court” when discussing a political solution to the yearslong war in Yemen.

“If they persist with this offensive, [the Houthis] will have to answer to the world for the humanitarian catastrophe that will be created,” Murphy said.

Following the Biden administration’s decision to revoke a terror designation on the Houthis and remove its leaders from the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), the Iran-backed group embarked on a full out offensive on Marib, one of the Yemeni government’s last strongholds in the north.

The Houthis also increased their cross-border missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and civilians inside the Kingdom.

The US senator reportedly urged Takht-Ravanchi to press Hamas to accept a ceasefire and halt its rocket attacks on Israel, Murphy said.

Read more: US raps Yemen’s Houthis for passing up major opportunity for peace, snubbing UN envoy