Political Analysis

Arrests lead to verbal jousting between Yemen and Iran

National Yemen

Yemen and Iran

By: Mohammed Al-Qadhi

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has called on Iranian authorities to stop interfering in Yemeni affairs. “We hope our neighbors in Iran stay away from Yemeni affairs and take into account both the difficult circumstances Yemen is passing through and that Yemeni authorities didn’t interfere in any neighboring countries’ affairs,” stated Hadi.

In a statement delivered before students of the War College, Hadi gave assurances that Yemen could survive the most challenging circumstances it had ever passed through and that it would not be dragged into civil war.

Hadi’s statement regarding Iranian interference came on the heels of a government announcement regarding arrest of members of an Iranian spy network which it said had been operating in Yemen for the last seven months. Sources stated that the network which operates in Yemen and the Horn of Africa is led by a former leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and that operations are run from Sana’a.

Minister of Information Ali Al-Amrani stated at a press conference that the spy network was using a trade cover to carry out operations in the cities of Aden and Ta’iz and added that members of the network are still under investigation.

Al-Amrani stated that Iran’s policy depends upon taking advantage of the difficult circumstances Yemen is currently passing through and that extremist groups with particular agendas were being sought after, to then be provided with political, media and financial support by Iranian authorities with which to harm Yemeni interests.

He also called on Iran to build its relations with all Yemeni people, and not just with extremist groups. Al-Amrani noted that Iran’s hostile activities in Yemen were carried out through communications with particular groups in certain geographical areas. “Their activities, however, extended to other places and groups,” he added, in reference to the Southern Movement. He concluded his speech by saying that relations between Yemen and Iran were not going well and that any provocation would be met with a similar escalation.

In response to the statements by Yemeni authorities, Iranian officials rejected accusations of interference in Yemeni affairs and said Yemeni authorities should pay attention to its people demands. The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry said governments facing public demands would do better to pay attention to their people, as opposed to making accusations against Iran. “Yemen is facing public demands and Yemeni politicians are supposed to be working on meeting their demands rather than raising weak accusations against others,” he stated.