Politics |

Iran hands over Yemen embassy in Tehran to Houthis, triggering backlash

By Hassan al-Obeidi in Baghdad

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech presenting the Islamic republic's new budget for the financial year starting late March 2020 in Tehran on December 8th. Iran has recently flouted international law by handing over Yemen's embassy in Tehran to the Houthi militia. [Stringer/AFP]

The Iranian regime's handover of the Yemeni embassy in Tehran to the representative of the Houthis (Ansarallah) constitutes a major violation of international law, experts told Al-Mashareq.

It also underscores Iran's subversive role in Yemen by supporting a militia that the Iranian regime is using to further its expansionist plans in the region at the expense of the Yemeni people, they said.

Iran officially recognised the Houthi representative in Tehran as ambassador in late November, sparking harsh condemnation from the Yemeni government and the Arab League.

The Houthis had initially announced the appointment of an "ambassador of the Republic of Yemen" in Tehran, Ibrahim Mohammed Mohammed al-Dailami, last August.

Yemeni president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi severed ties with Iran in October 2015 and closed the Yemeni embassy in Tehran, after accusing it of providing military aid to the Houthis.

Violation of international law

"The Iranian move, although not surprising from a regime such as this, is a violation of international law and UN Charters," Yemen's Deputy Minister of Information Abdul Basit al-Qaidi told Al-Mashareq.

It proves Iran's intervention in Yemen and confirms its involvement in supporting the Houthis, thereby fueling the conflict and prolonging the war, he said.

"The Yemeni government has approached the UN in this regard and we await a firm position that puts an end to this extraordinary situation and hostility by Iran towards Yemen," he added.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit condemned in a statement Iran's recognition of the Houthi militia as a representative of Yemen to Iran and the handover of the headquarters of the diplomatic mission in Tehran.

The move is "a flagrant violation of diplomatic norms, the Charter of the UN, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Security Council resolution 2216", he said on November 20th.

Iran's move represents "belligerent behavior and a violation of Yemen's sovereignty", Arab Parliament Speaker Mishaal bin Fahm al-Salmi said on November 21st.

It is aimed at hindering efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemen conflict and is a threat to regional peace and security, he said.

Threat to regional stability

"Yemen's tragedy can be attributed to Iran's interventions," former Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi told Al-Mashareq.

The Iranian regime "supported a coup that is not only against the legitimate government but also against peaceful co-existence and security and stability in Yemen", he said.

The handover of the embassy in Tehran to the Houthis aims to deplete Yemen's resources and turn it from a state of law to "a lawless state" of militias, which is Iran's agenda in every country in which it intervenes, he said.

The move "does not come as a surprise, as the Iranian regime is a major driver of violence in Yemen", Yemeni affairs expert Mohammad al-Nusairi told Al-Mashareq.

"Iranian weapons and missiles are reaching the Houthis, and it has become abundantly clear that Iran is prolonging the crisis," he said.

However, this move is an "important confirmation of Iran's vile and bloody role, not only in Yemen, but in the whole region", he said.

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