Mahmoud Hassan Zada, Iran’s Ambassador to Yemen, held a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a  on Sunday that addressed increasing concerns about Iran’s influence in Yemen. Regarding recent accusations made in several media publications that Iran has been running a spy ring in Yemen for the last seven years, Zada said, “We requested the Yemeni government to prove that by evidence, instead of accusing others. This affects relations between the two countries negatively.”He went on to say increasingly negative rumors concerning Iran’s influence in Yemen have severely impacted current relations. “Some opposing bodies are working to deepen the rift between the two Muslim countries,” he said. Zada said that an international focus on the Iranian spy rings in Yemen aims to mislead the public. He also refuted Iran’s involvement a ship found recently transporting weapons off the coast of Yemen. The ambassador added, “Yemeni officials are being misled by wrong reports and accusations concerning this subject.”The ambassador said Iran support for Yemen has been continuous, pointing out that Iran has no desire to influence Yemen’s internal political affairs. He also reconfirmed his support for Yemeni stability and a comprehensive national dialogue.The statements from the Iranian ambassador come after President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi  revealed in a speech delivered last summer that accuses Iran of espionage in Yemen. Hadi called on Iran not to interfere in Yemen’s affairs, indicating security forces have unearthed several espionage networks working under Iran. He also said Tehran supports politicians and journalists that derail the transitional process in Yemen.In the same vein, the Head of National Security, General Ali Hassn Al-Ahmadi, called on Iran to stop intervening in Yemeni affairs , including the supporting of or training of Houthis militants. He said Sana’a has solid evidence, proving Iran’s involvement.Regarding a recent statement released by the U.S.’s Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, that references Iran’s support for the Houthis and Southern Movement factions, Zada asked, “Who gave him the right to talk about Iran having a hostile role in Yemen?”
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