UAE FM: Iran is meddling in Yemen and the region

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said "Operation Decisive Storm" was launched because of the Houthi coup against legitimacy

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Iran is meddling in Yemen’s conflict and further afield in the region, the foreign minister for the UAE said on Wednesday, adding that Gulf Arab states had few grounds to hope they could build normal ties with the Tehran.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Yemeni counterpart Dr Riyadh Yaseen, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said "Operation Decisive Storm" was launched because of the Houthi coup against legitimacy and after multiple efforts by Riyadh to nurture peace talks between the Houthis and the government of Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi had failed.

“We have made all efforts at all levels - from the U.N. Security Council to regional level talks - to bring the Houthi militants to cooperate and stop their aggressive moves in Yemen with the help of Iran, but they have ignored all our reconciliatory efforts,” UAE newspaper Khaleej Times quoted the minister as saying.

“We are determined to provide all kinds of support - from military to relief assistance - to our Yemeni brothers.” Iran was deliberately destabilizing the region in dealing in militant activities, added the minister.

“Iran has attacked us at our home in Yemen where our roots are. Tehran is fully and openly supporting the Houthi militants in Yemen, where they have taken arms against a legitimate government and the people and created a chaos,” Sheikh Abdullah told reporters.

“We will not tolerate this and will fight the Houthi militants at all fronts along with our brother states in the region, particularly the GCC,” he added.

Asked for evidence to back up allegations by Saudi and U.S.-backed Yemeni President Hadi that Shiite Muslim Iran provided support for Shiite Houthi militia fighters opposed to his rule, Sheikh Abdullah replied:

“Iran is not carrying out this activity only in Yemen, it is doing the same activity in Lebanon, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

“Someone might say that the information provided by Yemen is not accurate, but there is systematic action that has been going for years on the idea of exporting the (Iranian) revolution,” reported Reuters.

Sunni Muslim Gulf Arabs could have “positive, normal” ties with Tehran, he said. “But Iran is not giving its partners in the region this hope...Each time we try to come close to Iran it starts spoiling the region, making (matters) difficult for our countries.”

“President Hadi had a clear request: for the Security Council and international community to stand by legitimacy and protect Yemen from more hardships,” said Sheikh Abdullah.

The minister said the UAE was an advocate of peace and stability, and that the “unordinary situation required an unordinary decision,” in reference to the launching of the Saudi-led military campaign “Operation Decisive Storm.”

Speaking about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the minister said “the terrorism committed by Houthi militias is the prime reason behind the deteriorating humanitarian situation,” adding that the UAE had always stood for Yemen and would always be a supporter of Yemenis.

On his part, Yaseen said the principle objective behind ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ was to reach a political solution to save Yemen and Yemenis, adding that its authorities had confiscated a large number of ammunition imported from Iran, that was intended for the Houthi militias.

“We have also arrested a number Iranian intelligence agency spies and agents arriving in Yemen to achieve their goal of destabilizing the state and creating ethnic, sectarian and political differences among the people,” Khaleej Times quoted him as saying.

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