New ‘ambassador’ in Sana’a signals Iran’s ambitions in Yemen
TEHRAN--Consecrating its interventionist ambitions in Yemen, Tehran has assigned a new ambassador to Sana’a for the first time in years.
Iran’s foreign ministry said Saturday that a new Iranian envoy has arrived in the rebel-held capital of the war-torn country, five years after the last ambassador departed.
“Hassan Eyrlou… ambassador for the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yemen, has arrived in Sana’a,” foreign ministry spokesman Said Khatibzadeh told the Fars news agency.
“He has presented his letters of credentials to Mehdi al-Mashat, head of Yemen’s supreme political council,” he added, referring to an executive body formed by Houthi rebels.
Iran backs the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war with arms and military equipment against an internationally recognised government that is supported by a Saudi-led military coalition.
Analysts see the Houthis also serving the interests of Tehran as a regional proxy carrying out destabilising activities in the Arab Gulf region on behest of Tehran.
The recognised government has been based in Yemen’s second city, Aden, for the past five years, after the Houthis seized the capital.
Eyrlou’s predecessor left Sana’a in September 2015 and in October last year Iran’s foreign ministry said the process of sending a new ambassador was hindered by “attacks on the embassy”.
Iran is the only country to hold diplomatic relations with the Houthis.
Fars did not specify when or how the ambassador had reached Sana’a, but the announcement came shortly after more than 1,000 prisoners were freed in a landmark exchange between the warring sides in Yemen.