Yemen severs ties with Iran amid Houthi battles
Iran is an ally of the Houthi fighters who seized control of the country last year and forced President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi into exile
Yemen’s government has announced it has severed diplomatic ties with Iran, state media reported on Saturday.
Citing the Yemeni presidency, state news agency Saba said Yemen "has taken the decision to expel the Iranian ambassador to Yemen, withdraw the Yemeni envoy to Tehran and close down its diplomatic mission in Iran."
The report stated that a presidency source had said the move was in protest against Tehran’s "continued interference in the internal affairs of Yemen and violation of its national sovereignty."
The source cited a recent detention of an Iranian fishing boat loaded with arms. The Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling Houthi militias in Yemen since March, had detained the ship last week.
When the boat was first inspected and seized, a number of rockets and missiles were found on board intended for Houthi forces, a coalition statement said. Among other arms, 18 armor-piercing shells, 54 anti-tank missiles, 15 battery kits designed for military projectiles and weapons guidance systems were found.
Following the announcement of severed ties however, a government spokesman Rageh Badie denied the news, telling The Associated Press that "cutting ties with Iran does not align with Yemen's supreme interests."
Iran is an ally of the Houthi fighters who seized control of the country last year and forced the government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
Bahrain, a member of the Saudi-led coalition, recalled its ambassador from Iran on Thursday, a day after it said its security forces discovered a large bomb-making factory and arrested a number of suspects linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.