Iran blames Yemeni President Hadi for unrest, political turmoil

Published March 10th, 2015 - 03:25 GMT

Amid a deepening political crisis in Yemen, Iran on Tuesday condemned Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for failing to unify opposing factions, and warned the restive country risked slipping into a full-fledged civil war.

Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollohian told the AFP that his country “supports the unity, independence, and a wide national dialogue in Yemen.” He also accused Hadi of breaking apart Yemeni national unity by fleeing house arrest in the capital Sanaa for the southern city of Aden.

President Hadi escaped detainment earlier this week after being held in Sanaa by the Houthi opposition group since early February.

The Houthis, a rebel group aligned with Islam’s Shiite sect, first stormed Sanaa in late September, taking over swaths of territory across the country and eventually declaring complete control at the end of January.   

At Hadi’s request, several Gulf states have recently offered to facilitate peace talks between Yemeni government officials and the rebels. But so far, the Houthis have refused to participate.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf states have eyed the Houthis’ power surge with deepening suspicion, fearing their leadership could lead Iran to gain a greater foothold in oil-rich Yemen.

Iran, a Shiite power, has been accused of backing the Houthis’ Sanaa takeover, but Tehran rejects this claim.

As the international community warns of Yemen’s increasing instability, a number of Gulf states have moved their embassies from Houthi-controlled Sanaa to Aden, where Hadi is now based.

Meanwhile a number of Western states have closed their embassies completely, including the United States and Britain.

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