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Yemen Blasts Iran for Supporting Rebels, Destabilizing Region

Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Monday blasted Iran for seeking to destabilize the country “through its support” for a range of separatists and rebels, a repeat of accusations that he has consistently and explicitly been leveling against Tehran for quite literally years.

“Unfortunately, Iranian interference still exists, whether through its support for the Hirak separatists or some religious groups in northern Yemen,” Hadi told Al Hayat, apparently referring to the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi rebels who are trying to capture more territory in the northern part of the country.

“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,” he said.

In February 2013 Sana’a announced that it had intercepted an Iranian vessel trying to smuggle explosives and surface-to-air missiles into Yemen, prompting Hadi to accuse the Iranians of trying to directly assist Shiite rebels fighting in the country’s north.

The charges have been widely echoed by other Gulf countries. In March of that year Saudi Arabia announced that it had arrested 18 people on charges of spying on behalf of Iran. In May Bahrain blasted the Islamic Republic for “flagrant interference” in its affairs.

The renewed expressions of concern come amid increasing analyst recognition that the region has fractured and hardened into three regional blocs, with an Iranian-led camp aligned opposite a group comprised of the U.S.’s traditional regional allies, and both aligned opposite a radical Sunni alliance anchored at various times by Turkey, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Turks, for their part, have also within the last week accused Iran of having infiltrated the Turkish government. One English-language Turkish outlet bluntly opened its coverage of the incident by conveying comments from Ali Fuat Yilmazer, a former chief of the Istanbul Police Department’s intelligence unit, claiming that the ‘Iran-linked notorious terrorist organization Tawhid-Salam has penetrated deep into the Turkish government in what amounts to international espionage.’

“If details of this case file [on the probe into Tawhid-Salam] are revealed one day, we’ll see how a foreign government can act comfortably in Turkey and how it was able to access many senior government officials,” Yılmazer said.

“They [members of the Tawhid-Salam terrorist group] have been able to develop relations at the most senior level,” the former intelligence chief added.

[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube]