Political Analysis

Iran diplomat abducted in Yemen, alive: Yemeni official

National Yemen

Iran diplomat abducted in Yemen, alive: Yemeni official

Yemen’s charge d’affaires to Tehran says the Iranian diplomat abducted in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, last July is in good health.

Reports and information obtained by the Yemeni government indicate that the kidnapped administrative staff member at the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a, Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, is alive and in good health, Abdullah Ali al-Seri said on Sunday.

The Yemeni official also emphasized that Yemen’s Interior Ministry and security forces are responsible for investigating the fate of the abducted Iranian diplomat.

On July 21, 2013, Nikbakht was on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of Sana’a when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with his Yemeni counterpart, Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Qirbi, last December, calling on Sana’a to utilize all the means at its disposal to secure the safe return of the Iranian diplomat.

In late January, a decapitated body was found in central Yemen which was believed to belong to Nikbakht. However, Tehran denied reports that the beheaded body belonged to the Iranian diplomat.

The Yemeni charge d’affaires further pointed to the recent assassination of another Iranian diplomat in Sana’a and said the terrorist groups operating in Yemen perpetrate such crimes in an attempt to harm Tehran-Sana’a relations.

On January 18, Abolqasem Asadi, the commercial attaché of Tehran’s Embassy in Sana’a, was gunned down by members of a terrorist group outside the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Yemeni capital. The Iranian diplomat died of his wounds in hospital.

Following the incident, Yemen’s Foreign Ministry denounced the attack, stating that authorities are determined to bring the attackers to justice.