Iran has stepped up its political and military support for Houthi coup militias in Yemen by appointing and dispatching a new Iranian ambassador to the insurgency-held capital, Sanaa. This sparked public rage in the war-torn country.
The internationally-recognized government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi urged a response against the hostile move by Tehran.
Iran had previously avoided officially recognizing Houthis in Yemen, but changed its policy after Houthis appointed Ibrahim al-Dulaimi as ambassador to Iran in 2019. Tehran accepted the appointment and handed over the keys to the Yemeni embassy to al-Dulaimi.
“Hassan Eyrlou… ambassador for the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yemen, has arrived in Sanaa,” foreign ministry spokesman Said Khatibzadeh told the Fars news agency.
“He has presented his letters of credentials to Mehdi al-Mashat, head of Yemen’s supreme political council,” he added, referring to an executive body formed by Houthi militias.
Fars did not specify when or how the ambassador had reached Sanaa, but the announcement came shortly after more than 1,000 prisoners were freed in a landmark exchange between the warring sides in Yemen.
Well-informed sources based in Sanaa revealed that Eyrlou had arrived to Sanaa onboard an Omani flight that transported 283 injured Houthis who were a part of a deal with Washington on releasing two US citizens captured by Houthi militias.
Yemeni activists accuse the UN of facilitating the transport of Iranian officers and experts to Yemen, where they help embolden a Houthi coup d’etat by providing military support.
Iranian military advisors are responsible for giving Houthis access to explosive-making technologies and providing militants with training sufficient to assemble and operate missiles and drones smuggled from Iran.
Yemeni activists have urged the government to respond to Iran sending Eyrlou to Sanaa, saying that the move violates national sovereignty, plays into Tehran’s policy on prolonging the war in Yemen, and violates international laws and resolutions.