Iran posts ambassador in Houthi-held Yemeni capital

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Tehran's new ambassador to Yemen has arrived in the Houthi-held capital of the war-torn country, the Iranian foreign ministry said Saturday, five years after the last ambassador departed.

"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.

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"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 rebels.

Iran backs the Houthis in Yemen's civil war against an internationally recognized government that is supported by the Arab Coalition.

The recognized government has been based in Yemen's second city, Aden, for the past five years, after the Houthis seized the capital.

Eyrlou's predecessor left Sanaa in September 2015 and in October last year Iran's foreign ministry said the process of sending a new ambassador was hindered by "attacks on the embassy".

Iran is the only country to hold diplomatic relations with the Houthis.

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.

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