Yemen's president publicly called on Iran Monday for Tehran to stop its involvement in Sanaa's internal domestic politics, according to Agence France Presse.
President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi told Al Hayat Newspaper, "Unfortunately, Iranian interference still exists, whether through its support for the Hirak separatists or some religious groups in northern Yemen. We asked our Iranian brothers to revise their wrong policies towards Yemen, but our demands have not borne fruit. We have no desire to escalate (the situation) with Tehran but at the same time we hope it will lift its hand off Yemen."
Iran has repeatedly denied interfering in Yemen's internal affairs, including alleged support for the country's Southern Movement who wishes to have more autonomy--and independence--from Sanaa, as well as support for the northern Shiite Houthi rebels who have been trying to control more territory in recent months after announcements of the six-state federation plan for the country.
However, Yemen authorities reported that they intercepted an Iranian ship last year which was trying to smuggle weaponry into the Gulf country, and Iranian embassy officials have been the target of kidnapping and attacks earlier this year in the country's capital.
Yemen's central government has faced a plethora of challenges as it attempts to rebuild the country in the post-Saleh period after the former president was ousted in 2011.
Hadi, who is serving as the interim leader during Yemen's post-Saleh transition, has been responsible for implementing a number of reforms, including transforming Yemen into a six-region federal state that would decentralize authority from Sanaa and give the south more autonomy accordingly.
However, northern Shiite Houthi rebels, who Iran is allegedly backing, have been extremely critical of the federation deal, saying that it will divide the country into poor and rich areas and further heighten sectarian tensions accordingly.
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